So many of Benny Golson’s compositions have become part of the jazz canon, it’s easy to forget how outstanding his sax playing is. “Terminal 1,” his latest recording, will correct that oversight. With a water-tight quintet, Golson punches out 10 straight-on, soul-satisfying cuts of no-frills modern jazz.

The title track swings right into gear, with sleek rhythmic change-ups and intense solos. Trumpeter Eddie Henderson, swinging right with Golson, sounds as sharp and poised as he did on his first recordings with Herbie Hancock. “Killer Joe,” one of Golson’s best-known compositions, stays deep in the pocket. The funky walking bass line inspires punchy soloing from Golson, Henderson and pianist Mike Ledonne. “Touch Me Lightly” eases toward a ballad feel, before swinging hard.

“Terminal 1” has nothing to prove — there’s no flashiness — but no tradition-bound looking back either. Golson delivers complex harmonic structures and poetic nuances with complete naturalness. Maybe that’s what 50 years of dedication to craft and tone leads to — some of the most affecting, and unaffected, jazz around.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.