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Album Review: Aaron Goldberg's 'Home'

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Aaron Goldberg Home Jazz Piano Album
Courtesy of Sunny Side Records
Pianist Aaron Goldberg’s Home is a dynamic trio album from a working band whose familiarity with one another manifests itself as ebullient playfulness. Whether it’s a tender love song, a haunting ostinato, or a jazz standard, Goldberg, along with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, approaches it with curiosity and restlessness, giving it rhythmic elasticity and eruptive potential.

Saxophonist Mark Turner joins the trio for three tracks on Home, contributing his increasingly voice-like tone, and as a result, an added weight to an album that seeks to balance lightheartedness with dark temperament. The group’s version of Pablo Milanés’ “Cancion por la Unidad Latinoamericana” might sound trite if it weren’t for Turner’s pensive vulnerability. Turner strikes a similar disposition on the Latin-tinged “The Rules,” and on “Aze’s Bluzes.”

Home features several covers, paying tribute to Thelonious Monk, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Stevie Wonder. “I Mean You” exaggerates Monk’s intended playfulness, focusing it on rhythm by alternatively stretching and compacting the melody over the form. Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” is transformed from its original shuffle into a driving 6/8 groove that continually flirts with swing. Goldberg’s solo, although filled with flourishes, is restrained with a lyrical discipline. Jobim’s “Luiza” is untethered from its bossa nova roots, and seeks sentiment within a rotating stylistic palette.

The overall feel of Home, like its list of influences and source material, is wide-ranging, but the album is unified by Goldberg’s buoyant expression. No matter the mood of a given piece, his phrases carry a gleam, or at least a faint glimmer of joy. That feeling is what lingers after the music is over.

Release Date:

April 15th, 2010 on Sunny Side Records

Personnel:

  • Aaron Goldberg – Piano
  • Reuben Rogers – Bass
  • Eric Harland - Drums
  • Mark Turner – Saxophone

Track List:

  1. Cancion por la Unidad Latinoamerica
  2. Shed
  3. Homeland
  4. I Mean You
  5. The Rules
  6. Luiza
  7. Isn’t She Lovely
  8. The Sound of Snow
  9. Aze’s Bluzes
  10. A Time For Love
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