Good as Gold: Larry Goldings collaborates with Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart.
From Monk to Björk, Larry Goldings crosses the pop spectrum
By Yoshi Kato
THERE are few sounds cooler than the classic organ trio with guitar and drums. Like the rock power trio that features guitar, bass and drums (and one of the players doubling on lead vocals), the organ trio sounds like a four-piece, with the organist providing bouncy bass lines through either the left hand (a la the Doors' Ray Manzarek) or foot pedal.
Larry Goldings is a contemporary champion of the organ and its many forms of expression. The heralded player is currently enjoying a heightened profile as a member of Trio Beyond, a jazz supergroup with drummer Jack DeJohnette and guitarist John Scofield that made its debut at Yoshi's in Oakland back in 2004. The trio was originally formed to pay tribute to the late drummer Tony Williams' famous Lifetime band. In June, it released an excellent live double album, Saudades (ECM), which was taken from a London concert in late 2004.
Goldings is finishing up a set of European dates with Trio Beyond before returning stateside and doing a date with a pair of old friends this Monday at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. In addition to playing in Scofield's previous bands, he has toured and recorded with singer/songwriter icon James Taylor and jazz-pop crossover sensation Madeleine Peyroux and done studio work for De La Soul, Lisa Loeb, india.arie and Al Jarreau.
A former wunderkind, Goldings started as a pianist before taking up the organ for gigging purposes, including work as a member of funky saxophonist Maceo Parker's group. Released in January, his latest album, Quartet (Palmetto), features Peyroux lending her vocals to a sweet version of W.C. Handy's "Hesitation Blues." It also draws from the great songbook of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk and even offers a reading of Björk's "Cocoon."
Quartet is an unusual Goldings project for two reasons: It takes him out of the guitar-organ/keyboards-drum setting that he has employed exclusively on three of his past four albums as a leader since 1999. And he is playing mainly piano with Palmetto label mates Ben Allison (double bass) and Matt Wilson (drums), as well as with trumpeter-cornetist John Schneider, rather than his longtime collaborators Peter Bernstein (guitar) and Bill Stewart (drums).
Fans of that particular collective needn't fear, though. The Goldings-Bernstein-Stewart trio (which has also released a CD and a live DVD under Bernstein's name) performs at Dinkelspiel Auditorium on the Stanford University campus this Monday. (Stewart, who has worked with guitarists Scofield and Pat Metheny's groups, is a Stanford Jazz Workshop alumnus, making the event that much sweeter. There's a great picture of a very young Stewart and Workshop champion Dizzy Gillespie in this year's program.)
"Larry's my oldest musical partner," Bernstein said, in an interview from 2001. "When we met at the Eastman Jazz Camp the summer before my senior year, I was 16 and I guess he was 15. "He was precocious," Bernstein continued. "He sounded mature and developed in certain ways and could play piano and was a little kid who could amaze adults—a little Mozart kind of guy. And he's still like that."
Goldings, Stewart and Bernstein play at 8pm on Monday, July 31, at Dinkelspiel Auditorium (Lagunita and Mayfield, Stanford). Tickets are $14-$28 and available through Ticketweb. For more information, contact 650.725.ARTS or www.stanfordjazz.org.
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