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Whisper Not (song)

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"Whisper Not"
Composer(s)Benny Golson
Lyricist(s)Leonard Feather

"Whisper Not" is a composition by Benny Golson. It is in a minor key[1] and contains a shout chorus (a special chorus between the final solo and the closing head).[2] Golson's account of writing the piece is that "I wrote it in Boston at George Wein's Storyville club when I was with Dizzy Gillespie's big band. I wrote that tune in 20 minutes."[3] Some sources indicate that the first recording was by Gillespie,[4] while others indicate that trumpeter Lee Morgan was first.[5]

It quickly became popular with other musicians: Thad Jones and Morgan recorded their own versions before its composer had the chance to record it with his own group.[6] Golson's early version was on his 1957 album Benny Golson's New York Scene.[7] By 1960, John S. Wilson, critic at The New York Times, had labelled the song, together with another Golson composition, "I Remember Clifford", "an established part of the jazz repertory".[1] It has been recorded by hundreds of musicians,[8] becoming a jazz standard.[9] Leonard Feather added lyrics, which were recorded by Anita O'Day in 1962 and later by several other prominent vocalists.[6]

Half a century after its composition, Golson remained strongly associated with the tune, and named one of his tours – the "Whisper Not Tour" – after it.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wilson, John S. (February 28, 1960) "Triple Talent: Golson Is a Composer, Arranger, Performer" The New York Times, p. X16.
  2. ^ Levine, Mark (1995) The Jazz Theory Book, p. 393. Sher Music.
  3. ^ Myers, Marc (February 9, 2012) "Interview: Benny Golson" JazzWax.
  4. ^ "Whisper Not (1956)". jazzstandards.com Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  5. ^ Blumenthal, Bob (2004) In The Complete Argo/Mercury Art Farmer/Benny Golson/Jazztet Sessions [CD liner notes]. p. 13. Mosaic.
  6. ^ a b c Gioia, Ted (2012) The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire, p. 459. Oxford University Press.
  7. ^ Yanow, Scott Benny Golson: Benny Golson's New York Scene AllMusic.
  8. ^ Myers, Marc (February 9, 2012) "Serving That Uptown Sound" The Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ Cook, Richard and Morton, Brian (2008) The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.), p. 568. Penguin.