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Aaron Goldberg: Turning Point

Jack Bowers By

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A beautifully recorded session that really percolates. This is essentially a quartet date (Goldberg, Turner, Rogers, Harland) with Josh Redman sitting in for Turner on “The Shadow of Your Smile,” Cook adding wordless vocals on “Fantasy in D” and “Mom’s Tune,” and Kalé making it a quintet on “Jackson’s Actions.” There’s one trio track, Dizzy Gillespie’s luminous “Con Alma,” and Goldberg moves to Fender Rhodes on “Jackson’s Actions” and “Mom’s Tune.” Goldberg, a protégé of Betty Carter who turns 25 this month, plays with remarkable maturity and insight for one so relatively young. For comparison’s sake only, he reminds me of Benny Green, whereas Turner brings to mind Joe Henderson. One has the feeling when listening to Goldberg that while the building blocks are firmly in place, he’s flying by the seat of his pants, and it’s that sense of spontaneity and surprise — which frames the core of Jazz, after all — that makes what he has to say so consistently absorbing. He’s a capable writer too, and that’s a good thing, as five of the selections on Turning Point are his including the lovely ballad “Turkish Moonrise,” the quirky “Head Trip” and easygoing “Mom’s Tune.” Johnny Mandel wrote “Shadow of Your Smile,” Cedar Walton the picturesque “Fantasy in D.” Rogers and Harland were new names to me, but they’re a solid yet unassuming duo, and based on this performance we should be hearing much more from them. Redman’s name, on the other hand, is well–known in Jazz circles, his reputation is widening, and it says something for Goldberg’s talent that he’s now a member of Redman’s working quartet. But a more convincing snapshot of that blossoming talent is embodied within this album, which marks an impressive debut for an up–and–coming young Jazz artist.

Track listing: Fantasy in D; Turning Point; Turkish Moonrise; Jackson’s Actions; The Shadow of Your Smile; Con Alma; Head Trip; Mom’s Tune (54:43).

Track Listing: Fantasy in D; Turning Point; Turkish Moonrise; Jackson's Actions; The Shadow of your Smile; Con Alma; Head Trip; Mom's Tune.

Personnel: Aaron Goldberg: piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano (4, 8); Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Joshua Redman: tenor saxophone (7); Reuben Rogers: acoustic bass; Eric Harland: drums; Carla Cook: vocals (1, 8); Karsh Kale: tablas (4).

Title: Turning Point | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: J Curve Records

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