Bill Goodwin: No Method

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When a trio is happening, it's such a warm, inspiring thing. The magic is in the collaborative relationship between the piano, bass and drums, the sensitivity of the artists and the sifting together of the ingredients particular to their instruments. Drummer Bill Goodwin has played and recorded in many terrific trios, as well as in brilliant small ensembles. Leaders of those dates have included Gary Burton, Gábor Szabó, Paul Horn and Phil Woods.

Goodwin has enormous taste and technique whether he has brushes or sticks in hand. He stirs up a lot of brass and hide but never overshadows. All of this is evident on a superb album Goodwin led in 1989 called No Method. Hal Galper was on piano and Billy Peterson was on bass. Leave it to Jordi Pujol of Fresh Sound to bring these three together back then and now reissue the session on CD and digital download. Goodwin recorded two other excellent albums with Galper—Wild Bird (1972) and Inner Journey (1973). This was their third.

Recorded at Creation Studios in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1989 and produced by Jordi, the trio played Jimmy Mosher's Jimmy's Tune and the standards I Fall in Love Too Easily, Samba de Orfeu, Stella by Starlight, Everything I Have Is Yours and There Is No Greater Love. The elegance and snap of these three really is something.

Galper is particularly tremendous here, with Ahmad Jamal's delicate quality in places contrasted with a fuller, commanding two-hand chord technique that will set your hairs on end. If you're unfamiliar with Galper's marvelous playing, this is a perfect entry point. Peterson's bass is enticingly strong and robust. And of course, there's Goodwin, dropping in percussive splashes and pretty patterns throughout that bridge Galper and Peterson neatly. Treat yourself. This is a must-own piano trio album.

JazzWax clip: Here's Stella by Starlight...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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