For more than two decades, Larry Goldings has been recognized as one of the most distinctive and versatile keyboardists in jazz, R&B and pop, with more than a dozen critically acclaimed recordings as a leader, and a diverse touring and recording résumé that includes Pat Metheny, Madeleine Peyroux, Maceo Parker and, James Taylor. Goldings' compositions have been recorded by Michael Brecker, John Scofield, Jim Hall, and Jane Monheit, among others.
Although perhaps best known for his Hammond organ playing, Goldings has recently been gravitating toward his first lovethe piano. It is, in fact, as a solo pianist that Goldings is featured on his new release, In My Room, out May 31 on BFM Jazz. Goldings chose three different pianos (including his Steinway) on which to record both original compositions and a selection of classic songs, from Stephen Foster's nineteenth century gem, Beautiful Dreamer," to 1960s pop songs, such as the title track, by Brian Wilson.
The challenge one faces when interpreting iconic songs like 'In My Room,' [Joni Mitchell's] 'All I Want' or [Lennon-McCartney's] 'Here, There and Everywhere' is that there is no way to improve on the original recordings, each one, so perfect, so personal," writes Goldings in the album's liner notes. This, then poses the question, 'Why even record them at all?' I guess the answer is that one must find a way to bring the songs into one's 'own room.' I attempted to accomplish this here, while still trying to maintain the purity of the songs as they were originally written and performed."
Five other covers round out this group. Both Beautiful Dreamer," and Take Me Out To The Ballgame" were chosen, says Goldings, for their perfect construction and unmistakable American-ness." A Rose for Emily," is one of two songs on which Goldings employed some overdubbing, in an effort to recreate the original Zombies classic. The Wedding" comes from South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, a huge influence on Goldings. Charles Strouse's Maybe" is drawn from the hit musical Annie. Goldings calls the song a poignant, wonderfully crafted piece of music that I've always wanted to explore." Matt Dennis' Everything Happens to Me," the lone jazz standard on In My Room, is given a starkly beautiful treatment here by Goldings.
As for the originals, Roach," a loping odd-metered blues, is dedicated to the renowned jazz drummer Max Roach and singer Abbey Lincoln; the cajun-flavored Crawdaddy" serves as Goldings' tribute to New Orleans; The Flower Song" plays out like a movie cue, in its succinct, lyrical simplicity; Libre" is a dream-like improvisation with French impressionist undertones; and as for All My Born Days," Goldings can't decide whether it's his Irish drinking song, or a sentimental ballad heard in a Wild West saloon."
Tying it all together is a series of what Goldings calls Interludes." Shortly before the mastering date," he explained, I remembered some 'prepared piano' pieces I had recorded at home, months earlier." (A 'prepared piano' is a piano in which the sound has been altered by the placement of objects inside the instrument). With a portable digital recorder, I captured about twelve improvisations and decided at the last moment to pepper the record with my favorite four."
Much of In My Room was recorded in Goldings' home, on his 1913 Steinway. The concept, says engineer/producer Richard Bryce Goodman, was simple: to position the listener as close to the creative process of the artist as possible with immediacy and lack of artifice...to sit beside Larry, in his room."
That intimacy is borne out in these recordings, each of which holds special meaning to the artist. With In My RoomLarry Goldings introduces us to several previously unexplored sides of this multi-talented musician. It may just be his most personal statement to date, a recording that will continue to reveal new layers with each successive playing in the years to come.
June 3, 2011CD Release Concert
Larry Goldings at Vitello's Jazz & Supper Club
4349 Tujunga Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604
Set Times 8:00PM & 9:30PM
This story appears courtesy of Two for the Show Media.
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