458

Ben Goldberg: Go Home

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Ben Goldberg: Go Home Between the rather eclectic and enigmatic The Door, The Chair, The Hat, The Fact (Cryptogramophone, 2006) and Plays Monk (Long Song, 2007), his characteristically idiosyncratic and unorthodox trio take on the music of Thelonious Monk, clarinetist Ben Goldberg continues to expand his broad musical interests, heard in earlier groups including Tin Hat and New Klezmer Trio. Few American artists other than Don Byron and Perry Robinson have focused so exclusively on this small wooden reed instrument, and while Goldberg's left-of-center concerns sometimes mirror Robinson's, he's equally influenced by more youthful concerns, a differentiator made all the more obvious on Go Home.



The Door, The Chair was a largely more cerebral affair; Go Home is no less thought-out, but with Amendola and 7-String guitar wiz Charlie Hunter onboard, it's a disc that grooves with serious intent and attitude. In addition to playing together in Hunter's mid-1990s quartet, Amendola and Hunter created an edgy, aggressive, yet strangely finessed rhythm section in T.J. Kirk—the unlikely musical trifecta of Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk that released two vastly overlooked studio albums including the Grammy-nominated If Four Was One (Warner Bros. 1996). Here, with cornetist/trumpeter Ron Miles added to the mix, Goldberg has fashioned a lean, mean quartet capable of anything—from the New Orleans Second Line groove of the blues-tinged "TGO" to the harder, rock-edged "Wazee."



The grooves aren't all booty shaking, however. "Lace" is a dark, oblique ballad that, with Hunter's gritty tone and tremolo, enters roots territory until Goldberg and Miles begin to solo in spare, idiosyncratic tandem—Bill Frisellian, to some extent, and no stretch given the guitarist's influence on Hunter's early days and Miles' ongoing musical relationship on the road and on albums including History, Mystery (Nonesuch, 2008). "Head and Tails" is equally brooding, with Miles' plangent tone and engaged intuition leading to a solo from Goldberg that's just as economical, and just as compelling.



Four of Go Home's ten original songs were recorded live in Mill Valley, California, not far from Berkeley, where the Denver-born Goldberg has lived for many years. There's a little extra energy, especially on the rocking "Ethan's Song," where Hunter takes another of his head-scratching "how does he do it" solos where it's almost impossible to imagine that one player is playing bass and guitar parts simultaneously, except that interplay is all the more empathic, given this is truly a duo of one. "Isosceles" begins with a groove straight out of The Temptations' "My Girl," but quickly opens up into something freer, with Amendola's loose and flexible support and solos from both Miles and Goldberg that are amongst the set's best. Amendola is featured on the sketch-driven "Papermaker," with a solo that closes the album on a high note.



With each new entry in his gradually expanding discography, Goldberg is finding new ways to combine a multiplicity of musical interests. Eclectic and loose, but with grooves that will make believers out of even the most improv-averse, Go Home is the perfect combination of music for the head, the heart...and the feet.

Track Listing: TGO; Wazee; Lace; Root and Branch; Head and Tails; Ethan's Song; Inevitable; Isosceles; Reparation; Papermaker.

Personnel: Ben Goldberg: clarinet; Charlie Hunter: 7-String guitar; Scott Amendola: drums; Ron Miles: cornet, G trumpet.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: BAG Production | Style: Funk/Groove


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21" CD/LP/Track Review Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Floating City" CD/LP/Track Review Floating City
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Surrounded by the Night" CD/LP/Track Review Surrounded by the Night
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Very Early" CD/LP/Track Review Very Early
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Closer Than Before" CD/LP/Track Review Closer Than Before
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "December Songs" CD/LP/Track Review December Songs
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!