18-year-old virtuoso pianist Brandon Goldberg unites with his trio to once more prove that age is no barrier to passion and brilliance with Live at Dizzy’s – out March 22, 2024 (Cellar Music Group)

Release Show: March 22 at the Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL

Brandon Goldberg is a pianist whose prowess, rooted understanding of the jazz tradition, and depth of emotiveness has earned him rightful acclaim as a savant within the national jazz scene. Described by DownBeat as a pianist with “unassailable technique, advanced harmonic understanding, a deep sense of swing, and, most importantly, a clarity and plethora of ideas executed to near-perfection,” Goldberg has time and time again proven his ability to conquer any gauntlet thrown before him. As Leonard Weinrich of London Jazz News astutely said, Goldberg has made “an emphatic statement to indicate that artistic development has rendered his lack of years irrelevant.”  

Following on the lauded praise of his previous album, In Good Time, the now 18-year-old has been on tour with his trio of longstanding collaborators Ben Wolfe (bass) and Aaron Kimmel (drums). As the tour came to its conclusion at none other than the iconic Dizzy’s Club, the trio deemed it the perfect opportunity to etch their live vivacity into a permanent record. The end result is Brandon Goldberg Trio Live at Dizzy’s, a monumental lightning strike of inspired arranging, potent collaboration, and utter mastery, releasing March 22 via Cellar Music Group

For Goldberg, performing at Dizzy’s, let alone recording at it, represents a salient full-circle moment. Apart from being what Goldberg describes as “one of the best sounding – and prettiest – rooms in New York,” Dizzy’s holds a sentimental value to the bandleader. “The first time I heard music in New York was at Dizzy’s,” Goldberg says. That concert Goldberg watched now carries with it another element of poetic resolution. “My parents took me to see the Bill Charlap Trio [at that first performance],” Goldberg says. “And now, Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes came to hear us on the first night of our run.”

Goldberg’s trio concept is grounded in the great piano trios of the 1950s and 1960s. Drawing on the influence of legends such as Ahmad Jamal, Red Garland, Oscar Peterson, and Sonny Clark, Goldberg’s arrangements and compositions seek to pay homage to his predecessors through both tasteful renditions and intentional curation. Live at Dizzy’s presents the trio’s modernized take on the music of these historic trios while still giving respect to the pianists and traditions of those by whom Goldberg was inspired.

Due to the album’s nature as a live recording, the song choice and track order is, in many ways, more particularly and carefully placed than a traditional studio album. Live at Dizzy’s opens with “Unholy Water,” an original composition from Goldberg’s oeuvre. Rather than beginning the writing process for this piece with a chord progression as many pianists do, Goldberg began sketching this piece simply knowing that he was writing it specifically for Wolfe and Kimmel, armed with only a series of syncopations and a fast-paced melody. When he brought the ideas in to rehearse with his trio, his collaborators’ artistry brought this piece, whose intentionally amorphous structure is grounded exclusively by the rhythm of the piece, to life in a way that intimately matched the vision Goldberg had sought to achieve. 

“Circles” is another original composition, originally featured on Goldberg’s previous release In Good Time for a quartet setting. Reimagined for this tour, the composition has taken on a dramatically different trajectory, and stands as a testament to his trio’s versatile imagination. The album also features writing by Goldberg’s peers. Notable in this vein is Ben Wolfe’s arrangement of Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate On You”. Goldberg wanted this piece on the set for sentimental reasons, as his grandparents had previously exposed him to the piece as a child through the golden era recordings by Frank Sinatra. Now, Wolfe’s arrangement of this standard references the stylings of the Ahmad Jamal Trio and showcases Goldberg’s trio’s ability to listen and respond with the highest intricacy. The album concludes with the great Jimmy Heath piece, “Compulsion”. “Miles Davis’s Collectors Items is one of my favorite records ever, and I felt that this set of music needed something special to close with,” Goldberg says. “‘Compulsion’ encapsulates the excitement and rhythm that makes jazz music so unique.” This track features a standout drum solo by Aaron Kimmel, evoking the expressive personality of Philly Joe Jones while highlighting his own unique persona and virtuosity.

As with any trio recording, each musician is equally important, even while filling utterly different roles. The power and inspiration of Live at Dizzy’s is a testament not only to Goldberg’s leadership, but the interwoven brilliance of the ensemble’s three unified minds. Goldberg acknowledges the elevation that his peers bring to this recording, and to every performance. “I arrived at Dizzy’s hours before our sound check to warm up and practice prior to the

shows,”Goldberg says, “and Ben Wolfe would already be there before me, warming up and practicing. I respect and appreciate his unyielding professionalism and dedication to the music.” Of Kimmel, Goldberg likewise has nothing but praise. “I admire Aaron Kimmel’s desire for perfection,” he says. “We played several of the songs that we selected for the album in all four sets of our Dizzy’s run, and during each break, Aaron and I would discuss what worked, what we could improve on, how to get a better vibe in the room, what tempos to change, what textures were best.” It is this unanimous and relentless commitment to the music and to each other that makes Goldberg’s trio soar above mere technical impressiveness. 

Brandon Goldberg Trio Live at Dizzy’s is a prodigious work, wrapped in tradition and steered with refreshing contemporaneity. A testament to shared musical vision, this album showcases Goldberg’s musicianship in equal portion to Wolfe and Kimmel’s. Indeed, they stand together with a single, compound sound, that is not that of a band, but that of an overarching, homogenous voice. 

 

Brandon Goldberg Trio Live at Dizzy’s releases on Cellar Music Group on March 22nd, 2024.

 

Catch Brandon Goldberg on tour:

March 22 – Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL

April 24 – Dizzy’s Club, New York

April 25 – The Local Saugerties, Saugerties NY

April 26 – Pittsfield City Jazz Festival,  Pittsfield, MA

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