Hailed by Down Beat magazine for his “quick-witted harmonic reflexes, fluid command of line and cut-to-the- chase sense of narrative logic,” Aaron Goldberg has made his name as one of jazz’s most compelling pianists, both as a bandleader and frequent collaborator with Joshua Redman, Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Guillermo Klein and many more. On his new release The Now, Goldberg reunites with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, the virtuoso rhythm team going all the way back to his 1998 debut Turning Point. On their fifth outing together, the trio foregrounds a central truth about the art of playing jazz: that no two performances will be the same because the music is created, in Goldberg’s words, “in the dynamic plane of the present.”
“A jazz record is literally one moment in time,” Goldberg explains. “Each song captures those five minutes, and not more. This is especially counterintuitive when you think about iconic jazz recordings like Kind of Blue, where we can all sing every solo. That record would sound totally different, we’d all be singing different solos, if it’d been recorded five minutes later or even five seconds later. That aspect of jazz is what makes it magical for me. I think every time you make an album you contribute to this illusion that jazz operates like other forms of music, where you figure out the song, you practice it, you play it a million times, then you record the definitive version. Jazz doesn’t work like that, and I felt it was time to explicitly wrestle with this in some thematic way.”
In every idiomatic zone from Brazilian ballads to roaring bebop, Goldberg and the trio have a way of spontaneously sculpting every bar as it flows by, like a wave on a river. That Rogers and Harland have also spent the last few years working with master saxophonist Charles Lloyd has deepened their communication and subtlety beyond measure. With Goldberg, they revel in the lesser-explored corners of jazz repertoire, bringing wit, explosive chops and also keen understatement to bear on the music at hand.
"Pianist Aaron Goldberg’s lyricism is informed by a sly wit, open to shifts in mood, without ever losing a sense of narrative cohesion"
"A post-bop pianist of exemplary taste and range"