Fresh spin to jazz

American pianist Aaron Goldberg first registered on my radar as a sideman for saxophonist Joshua Redman, his nimble fingering and clean playing style standing out even against Redman's horn fireworks.

This latest album teams Goldberg with adventurous drummer and percussionist Leon Parker. The opening track, Poinciana, throws down the gauntlet, bearing little resemblance to pianist Ahmad Jamal's 1958 take.

While Goldberg lays out the signature melody line, Parker accompanies with Bobby McFerrin-style vocalisations and body beats. His scatting even incorporates some Indian-inspired tala beats and vocalisations.

Goldberg keeps up with percussive chords and twinkling repetitions in the upper register that remakes this familiar favourite in unexpected ways.

The rest of the album follows this quirky pattern in the best jazz tradition of bringing an idiosyncratic spin to classic tunes.

Parker's brushes and Matt Penman's dancing bass propels Isn't This My Sound Around Me with effervescent pacing.

  • JAZZ

    AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

    Aaron Goldberg 

    Sunnyside Records

    4 stars

But Goldberg also shows off an introspective side in the elegant classicism he brings to a solo take on En La Orilla Del Mundo (At The Edge Of The World).

This is finely gauged, precision music making that proves experimental can be pretty to listen to.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2019, with the headline 'Fresh spin to jazz'. Print Edition | Subscribe