Following my recent phone call with Prof. Benson, I left him to continue his 92nd birthday celebrations with his family. We’d talked about his life, his music, his achievements. Throughout our conversation it struck me what a kind, humble and pleasant man he was. I felt that I was in the presence of greatness – not the egotistical greatness that emanates so often from high achievers, but that of someone who had simply won at life.
“I was a music teacher. I wasn’t trying to make a record to compete, I was trying to make a record so the students would have something to remember the experience that we had… I was doing it for the kids.”
It was 1973 that Prof. James Benson had self-funded his private press LP for the benefit of the teenage musicians he tutored at Cal Poly, California. The album was a momentous achievement for him and his young protegees, something they were all proud of, and rightly so. Taking inspiration from their recent trip to Africa and blended with the radical jazz associated with the young minds of early '70s black America, the Gow-Dow Experience is a unique foray into the enthusiastic mindset of up-and-coming jazz musicians, as encouraged by their mentor Prof. Benson.
We present the album as it was released in 1973 with a heavyweight tip-on jacket and 180g vinyl or on CD. We also include an insert with liner notes and photos provided courtesy of Prof Benson. The LP and CD come with 4 additional tracks taken from the recording session. Until now these tracks have never been heard since the day they were recorded – believe me, they're worth the wait!
Made with love from Jazzman – because we love to dig deeper!