Aaron Goldberg: Home (2010)
Home by the young pianist Aaron Goldberg, is a gorgeous album of songs. The music here proffers many moods. It is sharp, and probes the density of emotionsfrom happiness, and one's unique identity, to the loss of both. It is a poignant search for a home for the heart, the soul and the restless mind. The original music is brave and although performed by a trio (or quartet) has a feel of being conceived on a large canvas of colors and tonal textures. These are exquisitely interpreted by the pianist, bassist Reuben Rogerswhose sense of melodic and harmonic expansion is admirable and drummer Eric Harland, the astute keeper of the pulse of the song. And then there is the amazing Mark Turner, who stars on three tracks.
On "Canción por la Unidad Latino America," a glorious anthem first recorded by the visionary Cuban musician, Pablo Milanés on Grandes Exitos in 1996, Turner brings the dream-like yearning of the song to life in the virtually falsetto glissandos of his tenor. While the song is performed sans Milanés' grandly idealistic lyrics, the emotional rendering by Goldberg's trio, with Turner as a co-leading voice, recall its elemental grandeur. As an anthem, it ranks with Charlie Haden exquisite "Ballad of the Fallen" from his 1983 ECM album of the same name. Turner continues his beautiful wail on Goldberg's mesmerizing chart, "The Rules" and gives a thoughtful performance on "Aze's Bluzes," a track complete with the clever reference to John Coltrane A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965).
A sure sign that Goldberg's star is on the rise comes in performances that define his pianistic intelligence and unbridled virtuosity. "The Rules"his hauntingly beautiful "The Sound of Snow"is a masterful exercise in visualization and tonal majesty that clearly defines the composer's genius. The pianist's interpretive skills are flashed forward on Thelonious Monk challenging, "I Mean You," which Goldberg renders as a reflective, cracked crystal maze. The other songs that showcase Goldberg's uncanny skill for the unexpected are Stevie Wonder "Isn't She Lovely," Antonio Carlos Jobim pensive ballad, "Luiza," where the pianist is sublimely heartrending, and Johnny Mandel "A Time For Love," where he expresses lofty emotions, as does Harland in his role as percussion colorist.
This album also showcases a mature trio, one that captures the high energy, sophistication and sheer wonder of music in the same great manner of Keith Jarrett famous Standards Trio. The performances, by each of the musicians, are flawless. The addition of Turner adds a shadowy vocal element to the otherwise instrumental music.Whether as a trio or a quartet, the musicians' ability to communicate with each other is virtually telepathic. As a result, Home could very well contain some of Aaron Goldberg's best work alongside his other trio, the one he is probably better known forOAM, with bassist Omer Avital and Spanish drummer Marc Miralta.
Track Listing: Canción por la Unidad Latino America; Shed; Homeland; I Mean You; The Rules; Luiza; Isn't She Lovely; The Sound of Snow; Aze's Bluzes; A Time For Love.
Personnel: Aaron Goldberg: piano; Reuben Rogers: bass; Eric Harland: drums; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone (1, 5, 9).