Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ben Goldberg - Go Home (BAG, 2010)

Clarinetist Ben Goldberg has played a wide variety of music as a leader and a sideman with a number of different ensembles. This is a new band of his, playing modern jazz with a hint of funky groove and it features Charlie Hunter on guitar, Scott Amendola on drums and Ron Miles on cornet and trumpet. "TGO" opens the album with some mid tempo probing and woody sounding clarinet, making way for a stinging and slithering guitar solo. Hunter really sounds nice in this context, getting a lot of solo space and also accompanying other soloists and playing ensemble sections. "Wazee" features funky guitar and drums, and yearning horn and clarinet along for the ride. Hunter fires sparks over a cool back beat groove while clarinet swirls alongside. "Lace" slows the pace down to a spare and well spaced feel. Hunter's guitar is bluesy and ominous, like something from a Ry Cooder soundtrack while atmospheric creeping clarinet moans against a stark backdrop. "Root and Branch" was taken from a live performance, featuring a well constructed clarinet solo improvising over cool drum work. Miles' trumpet probes, pushing the tempo and then Hunter's guitar spits out shards of fractured melody, building to an exciting solo conclusion. Earthy, bluesy guitar is the centerpiece of "Inevitable" which starts out low and rumbling and then builds to a dirty gutsy guitar solo with clarinet arcing overhead, followed by strong full band improvisation. The musical palette of this album was quite appealing. High pitched clarinet playing off against electric guitar and golden burnished brass with thick supple drumming offer a wide variety of emotions and textures that the musicians could investigate, and make for a successful and appealing album. Go Home - amazon.com

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