While Golson has composed other jazz standards, “Killer Joe,” Stablemates,” and “Whisper Not,” “I Remember Clifford” is his most recorded composition. Dizzy Gillespie’s band, which included Golson, introduced it at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957, and it was subsequently picked up by both instrumentalists and vocalists: Art Farmer, the MJQ, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, the Jazz Messengers, Lee Morgan, Carmen McRae, and Keith Jarrett. In 1954 vocalist Vaughan recorded Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown, one of her most memorable albums. She performs the song on a newly released DVD of a concert recorded in Prague in 1978. Helen Merrill, who also recorded with Brown in 1954, avoided recording the song until 1994 when she featured it in her tribute album, Brownie. The Manhattan Transfer included it in their 1985 Vocalese album, for which they won three of twelve Grammy nominations. In 1992 Arturo Sandoval released an album dedicated to Brown appropriately entitled I Remember Clifford.
I know he'll never be forgotten He was a king uncrowned I know I'll always remember . . . The warmth of his sound Lingers so long I'm sure he's still around For those who've heard they repeat him yet So those who hear won't forget.
Oh the sounds of his phrase Echoes the time uncountable by days The things he played are with us now And they'll, and you'll, Should time allow Oh, yes, I remember Clifford I seemed always hear him play somehow.
Every day I hear his lovely tone In every trumpet sound that has a beauty all its own So, how can we say Someone so real is really gone away I hear him now, I always will Believe me I remember Clifford still.