Brandon Goldberg – Live at Dizzy’s (ENG review)

Cellar Music Group – Street Date March 22th 2024
Brandon Goldberg - Live at Dizzy’s

Just at the age of 18, Brandon Goldberg, a gifted pianist, keeps the tradition of jazz alive with “Live at Dizzy’s,” a recording of remarkably high technical quality, in a resolutely modern piano playing style. Brandon states: “I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been exposed to an enormous amount of music and talent in my life. I can’t say I’ve seen it all, but true surprises don’t come along that often. YouTube has been a fertile ground for discovery across all genres. You don’t have to look very far to find some pretty incredible young men and women who ‘rip,’ but, 99% of the time, digging a little deeper, they fall short. Sure, the fingers are fast, the tempos are fierce but, in the end – simply and clearly – most just lack heart. Heart, for me, is the most important ingredient in creating art.”
With a trio setup featuring Brandon Goldberg on piano, Ben Wolfe on bass, and Aaron Kimmel on drums, this album is inevitably timeless due to its purely acoustic section composed of prodigies. It’s very difficult to overlook such an album, just as it’s impossible not to wonder what Brandon Goldberg’s work will be like in ten years. For me, I discern everything that has shaped this artist in his artistic journey. If today he offers us a high-level classic jazz album, we can easily envision him in a few years in a more contemporary jazz form, fueled by his passion for the history of jazz, which he already opens up some paths to in his interpretations.
For Goldberg, performing at Dizzy’s, let alone recording there, represents a significant moment of closure. Besides Dizzy’s being, according to Goldberg, “one of the best – and prettiest – rooms in New York,” this place holds sentimental value for the group’s leader. “The first time I heard music in New York was at Dizzy’s,” says Goldberg. This concert that Goldberg attended 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 listen to us on the opening night of our concert series.”
Of course, you’ll recognize works by Cole Porter and many others along the way, but delve deeply into this album. Not only does this trio have a unique way of interpreting the tracks, with both a nearly rock intention at times and an extreme delicacy, a style certainly less accessible to the uninitiated, but all will be captivated by this momentum that carries from track to track. Let’s pause for a moment on this statement by Brandon that speaks volumes about the cohesion of this trio: “I arrived at Dizzy’s several hours before our soundcheck to warm up and rehearse before the shows,” Goldberg says, “and Ben Wolfe was already there before me, warming up and rehearsing. I respect and appreciate his unwavering professionalism and dedication to the music.” Similarly, Goldberg has nothing but praise for Kimmel. “I admire Aaron Kimmel’s desire for perfection,” he says. “We played several of the songs we had selected for the album during the four sets of our concert series at Dizzy’s, and during every break, Aaron and I discussed what was working, what we could improve, how to create a better atmosphere in the room, which tempos to change, which textures were best.” It’s this unanimous and unwavering commitment to the music and to each other that allows Goldberg’s trio to rise above mere technical prowess.
A true gem, this very young artist deserves to be discovered for those of you who are not yet acquainted with him.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 15th 2024


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