All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Matthew Goodheart: Songs From the Time of Great Questioning

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Meniscus is a new label founded by writer Jon Morgan whose work has appeared in such notable creative music journals as Cadence, Coda and the Wire. Recognizing the importance of documenting the music first hand Morgan took up the crusade of elevating the visibility of improvisers whose names are often not as widely circulated as some of their peers - an especially risky enterprise when one considers the economics of creative improvised music. A further distinction for Meniscus is found in the types of projects Morgan chooses to undertake, all of which emphasize the artistic possibilities of solo, duo and trio performances over larger group settings. The label’s first release spotlighted the music of drummer Gino Robair in a series of duo and trio settings and the second, a solo recital by Wisconsin-based cellist Matt Turner. Two new discs represent the second wave of Meniscus releases and two more titles are slated for the immediate horizon. All of Morgan’s tireless work seems to be paying off, albeit slowly.

Bay-area based pianist Matthew Goodheart possesses a tremendous dynamism, which is ideally suited to the rigors of solo improvisation. His fingers employ the entire keyboard conjuring a range of sonorities that is stirring both in variation and immediacy. Alternately strident and soft his touch on the ivories juggles a mellifluous balance between brooding darkness and illuminating light. This disc marks Goodheart’s fourth release under his own name, though his talents have also been well documented as a contributor to improvising collectives under the leadership of others including Glen Spearman and Marco Eneidi. Goodheart’s wide-reaching interests have propelled him not only across the territories of jazz-based improvisation, but also through the landscapes of modern classical, Afro-Cuban and contemporary electronic music. The knowledge gleaned from explorations into each of these disparate styles comes into cooperative play on this beautifully executed solo recital.

The program is loosely divided into five pieces, though the disc’s divisions serve more as subjective signposts for the listener to attune his or hear bearings rather than as sharp demarcations. Each proceeding piece flows into the next with a fluidity that reflects Goodheart’s holistic approach to improvisation. “Sparks From the Ancient Sea” begins with a fragile flurry of notes and makes exquisite use of silence between repeated flourishes of melody. On “Structure for Piano No. 2” Goodheart carves a dense and deliberate edifice of sound from an initial array of sparse rumbling chords. As the piece progresses its melodic core serves as a cyclically recurring vantagepoint to survey the growing tide of subtle dissonance. “Can One Letter ‘Om’?” pays playful respects to Ornette Coleman by infusing some of his recognizable themes into a muscular, blues-grounded tour-de-force. Classical overtones coalesce with passages of vigorous improvisation on “Variations for Alvin Curran” and it is over this piece’s substantial length that Goodheart proves his adroit dexterity on the keys most. His skill at coaxing every possible permutation out of even the simplest melodic fragment is also magnificently rendered here. With the concluding “Shaker Melody” Goodheart abandons the keyboard proper and investigates the rich possibilities of his instrument’s innards, tugging and scraping at strings and rhythmically knocking on wood. The haunting theme, which closes the piece, dissipates to unanimous applause. Easily one of the most satisfying solo piano recordings in recent memory, this disc represents the work of a refreshingly original musician who will be one to watch in the coming years.

Track Listing: Sparks From the Ancient Sea/ Structure For Piano No.2/ Can One Letter

Personnel: Matthew Goodheart- piano.

Title: Songs From the Time of Great Questioning | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Meniscus


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Trio / Chinese Jesus" CD/LP/Track Review Trio / Chinese Jesus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "The Dreamer Is the Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Nature City" CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Duende Libre" CD/LP/Track Review Duende Libre
by James Nadal
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Black Times" CD/LP/Track Review Black Times
by Chris May
Published: March 8, 2018