10

Brandon Goldberg: Let's Play

Don Phipps By

Sign in to view read count
Can a 12-year old pianist offer up the emotional depth necessary to handle tunes like Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," Matt Dennis's "Angel Eyes," or Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't?" The answer appears to be yes, and then some. Brandon Goldberg's exciting album, Let's Play, reveals that a young man can not only convey emotional context within his playing, but demonstrates his ability to create new and innovative arrangements of standards (and non-standards like the Lennon-McCartney "Blackbird") and embellish the solos of his bandmates.

Listening to this album, one is reminded of an evening of music in a city jazz club, sipping wine by candlelight, and the sparkling eyes of that special someone glowing back at you. Named Downbeat Magazine's 2019 and 2018 Student Music Awards winner for Jazz Soloist and Original Composition, Goldberg uses the standard piano-trio format on seven of the numbers. He extends the piano trio to a quartet when he adds saxophonist Marcus Strickland on two pieces. And on Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," he goes it alone, serving up a tender and bluesy solo rendition.

Goldberg never pushes his technique. His piano playing is light and dances on the keys. But this does not hinder his ability to emphasize stride bass notes or modal transitions. Instead, it enhances it. And his bandmates enhance things too. Take Wolfe's bass opening and unison playing with Goldberg's left hand at the beginning of "McCoy," Goldberg's tribute to McCoy Tyner—one of three originals on the album—or the charm that Strickland brings to the graceful Herbie Hancock tune "Dolphin Dance."

Goldberg says the music on Let's Play was inspired by his heroes Monk, Tyner and Hancock. Like his heroes, Goldberg has developed his own unique voice and technique—a style that shows great promise for the future.

Track Listing

Well You Needn't; Blackbird; You Mean Me; Angel Eyes; The Understream; Dolphin Dance; Caravan; In A Sentimental Mood; McCoy.

Personnel

Brandon Goldberg: piano, Fender Rhodes, compositions, arrangements: Ben Wolfe: bass; Donald Edwards: drums; Marcus Strickland: tenor saxophone.

Album information

Title: Let's Play | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

Watch

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Morning Light
Morning Light
By David A. Orthmann
Read Berit In Space
Berit In Space
By Mark Corroto
Read Cherry Jam
Cherry Jam
By Karl Ackermann
Read Live In Willisau
Live In Willisau
By Troy Dostert
Read Serenity Island
Serenity Island
By Mike Jurkovic
Read Albare Plays Jobim
Albare Plays Jobim
By Edward Blanco
Read Ecology
Ecology
By Toj Samaz