by Jamaal Baptise, Black Grooves

Bassist extraordinaire and bandleader Richie Goods’ new release, My Left Hand Man, is a phenomenal tribute album to his mentor, the late and great jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller. Joined by his band, The Goods Project, the album offers a collection of funk and R&B oriented arrangements of Miller’s tunes which, according to Goods, “aims to educate listeners about the late pianist’s eclectic taste and musical versatility.” As the youngest person to be inducted into the Pittsburgh Jazz Hall of Fame, Goods has had a prolific career performing and recording with major artists such as Whitney Houston, Lenny White, Brian McKnight, Common, Alicia Keys, and Chris Botti, among others. He draws upon this wealth of experience to breathe new life into Miller’s works.

My Left Hand Man opens with Goods’ funky rendition of Miller’s “Easter Joy Dance,” a tune covered by music luminaries such as Tito Puente, Vincent Herrin, and Steve Nelson. Goods takes a minute to pay homage to his mentor with a spirited unaccompanied acoustic bass performance of “The Left Hand Man.” Later, he gives listeners a feel-good R&B interpretation of Miller’s “Second Thought,” featuring the breathtaking vocal stylings of Jean Baylor. Other hits include soulful renderings of “The Sage” and “Song for Darnell,” as well as the medium tempo hip hop infused performance of “The Sequel,” which culminates the album.

As a wide-ranging collection of Miller’s work, My Left Hand Man is a thrilling homage and wonderful celebration of the jazz pianist’s life and legacy.

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