Stu Goldberg – Composer News

Stu Goldberg is currently scoring films – Stay tuned to updates posted here on Composer page and on IMDB.
Audio excerpts from scores are posted on Composer page.

February, 2017 – Interview on JazzRocks Podcast.
Stu Goldberg discusses his early career in the 1970’s as a touring-recording Jazz fusion keyboardist
& his progression towards Film/TV composition.
Interview from 15:00 – 40:40.

December 2016 – Stu Goldberg composed additional music for Capcom video game “Dead Rising 4”.

World premiere, VIFF Vancouver International Film Festival, September – October 2014,
The Pristine Coast, Scott Renyard, director, Juggernaut Pictures, producer, Stu Goldberg, composer.

Winner, 2014 Leo Award, Best Documentary Score for “Chi”, Stu Goldberg – composer.

2014 Canadian Screen Awards – Winner, Best Short Documentary:
“Chi”, Anne Wheeler, director; National Film Board of Canada, producer;
Music by Stu Goldberg.

Hear Stu Goldberg’s music in the ten time Emmy winning CBS primetime series, “The Amazing Race”,
Jerry Bruckheimer Films/ Touchstone/ Bertram Van Munster/ Worldrace Productions, Inc.

June 2014 – Stu Goldberg composed additional music for Capcom video game “Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade”.

2010 – Ballet Kelowna commissioned Stu Goldberg to compose featured work for the ballet, “Stage Within”,
under the direction of choreographer Simone Orlando and Ballet Kelowna artistic director emeritus David LaHay.

Stu Goldberg – Artist Reviews

“Intriguing compositions and imaginative improvisations.”
— Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times

“Spirited displays of virtuosity .”
— George Wanamaker, Downbeat

“Goldberg turns the piano inside out…astonishing intellectual and emotional energy, well matched by technical virtuosity…the music is class-A, structurally, technically, spiritually and emotionally..”
— Lee Underwood, Record Review

“Goldberg… transcends boundaries – between jazz and chamber music, between Europe, America and India, between composition and improvisation…”
— Joachim E. Berendt, Stereo

“At times Goldberg strokes the keys as tenderly as Cezanne paints pastel colors on a canvas… a pianist who’s fingers seem to be made of rubber… his compositions showcase a talented visionary musician with great technique who creates his own universe through the piano.”
— Dieter Gruenfeld, Berliner Morgenpost

“A genuine sense of exploration, a sense of openendedness uninhibited by structural considerations.”
— Dave Conway, Melody Maker

“Uncanny accuracy.”
— Robert Palmer, The New York Times

“His dense rhythmic patterns and diffuse keyboard architecture are to be savored.”
— Balleras, Downbeat

“He has achieved an extraordinary level of success.”
— Bob Agnew, L.A. Jazz Scene

Review of solo piano concert at Shatford Centre, June, 2013, Penticton BC, Canada

STU GOLDBERG
“Pianist/composer Stu Goldberg performed alongside some of the most daring artists of the mid-’70s fusion era as part of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra and later embarked on a successful solo career that included film and TV scores as well as albums. Born in Malden, MA, and raised in Seattle, WA, the pianist began his career at a young age, notably performing as a keyboard soloist at the Monterey Jazz Festival at age 17. He then went on to graduate magna cum laude from the University of Utah in composition and piano. Following graduation he joined the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the mid-’70s and remained a member for five years, during which time he performed alongside such legendary fusionists as Al DiMeola, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Billy Cobham, Jack Bruce, Larry Coryell, Alphonse Mouzon, and more. After leaving the group, Goldberg toured Europe as a soloist and began prolifically recording for such labels as MPS and Pausa.

Following his time in Europe, where he recorded numerous solo albums, Goldberg moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session musician. He became particularly involved with Hollywood while living in L.A., working with such prominent composers as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, David Newman, and Lalo Schifrin. After gaining substantial experience from these composers, he began composing his own film and television scores. Goldberg furthered his recording career in the early 2000s with Going Home (2001), a highly regarded album for Rhombus featuring Kenny Goldberg (sax/flute), Jeff Falkner (bass), and Dave Renick (drums). A year later Goldberg returned with another album, Dedication , featuring the same backing musicians.”
— Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide

STU GOLDBERG: Amazing Dedication
You never know where the trip will take you. One day you are a teenaged musician sharing the stage with the greatest jazz and rock players in the world. Another day, thirty years later, you are comfortably ensconced in your own recording studio laying down tracks for the hit TV series The Amazing Race.

Jazz pianist and composer Stu Goldberg is a long way from his jazz-fusion-pioneering days of the 1970s. There are no more European, North American and South American tours with the likes of John McLaughlin, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Billy Cobham or Jack Bruce. Those were the days when nothing seemed impossible and Goldberg was having the time of his life learning about music and eating up the culture that surrounded him during his many travels. Certainly, these are moments that Goldberg cherishes. But time passes and needs change. It becomes time to settle down and raise a family. Yet, music stays your constant partner.

The fusion whirlwind came early for Goldberg. George Duke saw him one night at a concert in Utah. Duke was so taken by Goldberg’s performance that he put in a good word with his friend John McLaughlin. The next thing you know a shell-shocked Goldberg, who was now living in Santa Monica, was on his way to New York to join McLaughlin’s third incarnation of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The 19-year old Goldberg would soon find himself smack dab in the middle of the Fusion Revolution. His soaring playing and inventiveness would put him among the top of the food chain.

After his success with McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Band, Al DiMeola, Larry Coryell, Alphonse Mouzon and others, the early synthesizer star decided to focus on acoustic music and had a career in Europe. He recorded ten solo records during that time. Eventually Goldberg, who was raised in Seattle, Washington, moved back to L.A. and became involved in the session scene. He learned a great deal from this session work and eventually began writing music for television and the movies. In fact, his dedication to this side of music has taken him off the road since 1984.

Goldberg’s state-of-the-art recording studio, where he prepares his own music and produces others’, sits perched on the side of a British Columbia hill overlooking the world below him. As he sat in his producer’s chair, doing what he loves to do everyday, he spoke to AAJ.

All About Jazz: Since you are scoring The Amazing Race , you must know who wins.

Stu Goldberg: [laughs] Of course, depending upon which episode I am scoring. In the first season I really knew. It is pretty much library at the moment. There is so much time pressure that the producer just pretty much takes pieces from the sound library. Nowadays I create music for special episodes or needs.

AAJ: You are playing this music you composed as well.

SG: Oh, yes. Oh yeah. That’s the nature of the beast. The budgets are usually so low and the time constraints so short- that the composer pretty much has to perform the entire score.

AAJ: You own the Dedication label, which put out your last jazz record aptly named Dedication.

SG: Yes. It’s homespun. I make my own jazz albums and it is great fun for me. I am not working for anyone else. I am just making pure music that I want to do and I help other artists do the same.

AAJ: So despite playing on such film scores as Indiana Jones and working with the legendary Jerry Goldsmith, and all of the other myriad of film projects and television scoring you have done; when all is said and done, you still just consider yourself a jazz pianist.

SG: Oh, of course. Other than getting older and wiser, I still am what I am.

AAJ: You have a beautiful studio. It seems to me that many of the fusion keyboard players, in particular synthesizer players, have gone on to build amazing recording studios. Jan Hammer and Stevie Wonder come to mind quickly. But there are many, many others. Do you think there is something inbred in keyboard players—especially synthesizer players—that seems to give them an acumen for technology?

SG: That’s a good question. As a keyboard player in my case, I grew up with the very first synthesizers in the early seventies. They were really clunky and unwieldy when I was with Mahavishnu. Actually after a while, I became turned-off by the whole electric thing. It was all about louder and faster and higher. At the time, these instruments were not all that musical as far as phrasing and nuance went. I dropped out and went back to playing acoustic piano, which is my first love. But when I came back to synthesizers in 1984, the technology had taken a great leap forward. All of a sudden they were making instruments that had real potential to play music. That is- if you knew how to operate them. And learning how to operate these instruments necessitated learning programs and all that stuff. I think that is where the technology comes into it.

AAJ: What music do you listen to these days?

SG: No one really. I don’t want to be affected by outside influences. But when I do listen; I listen to classical, Indian and Miles Davis and John Coltrane from the fifties and sixties. But, I’d rather play. In fact, over the last three years, I have even seriously been studying the tabla!

AAJ: Does being a jazz player hurt you or help you in writing scores? Perhaps an improvised two minutes would not be appreciated by some producers.

SG: Well, that is hard to say. I don’t really divide music into genres. In scores, music is the subtext anyway. It accompanies. It is really about mixing all of the elements to make a whole. It is all music to me.
Walter Kolosky, All About Jazz, 01-26-05

Walter Kolosky is the author of Girls Don’t Like Real Jazz; A Jazz Patriot Speaks Out.

Dark Clouds – Reviews – Dedication Records DED-2181

Review on sa-cd.net

Performance: ***** (5 stars) Sonics (MC):***** (5 stars)
Stu Goldberg is an accomplished pianist/percussionist with a wide variety of styles under his collar. On this SACD he shows his skills as an improviser and catalyst. Most of the music is bourne out of the moment within a certain framework and I must say that I enjoyed it a lot. What fascinates me the most about this SACD is the closeness of the musicians, how Goldberg together with the expert tabla player Cassius Khan and vocalist Jennifer Lauren Goldberg are creating chamber music. And the funny thing is that when I once started listening there was no way I could have stopped before the disc was ended. That says a lot.

Four titles, the first is called Ragamala and lasts for over twenty minutes. Piano and tablas in interplay. Sometimes I was reminded of the great Swedish pianist Jan Johansson because of the clarity, and then the music changed into a sort of Elton John-ish funky pop song. Not for long though. Great sensitivity from both musicians and they create a piece that is both engaging and hypnotic. I love all those sounds from the tablas with their falling notes. The tabla man goes berserk and the piece ends most beautifully with some delicate playing. Very exciting indeed!

Rain, a piece written by vocalist Jennifer Lauren Goldberg. Her voice is close-miked to great effect. She is very present in my room. A lovely, slightly nasal quality sings of love and the wonders of nature. Many overdubs with Cassius Khans vocals adding spice. A rather melancholy song that is an absolute charmer. Great producing from Goldberg and the song really takes wing with the added percussion and rhythm section. Goldberg´s piano playing is very sensitive throughout.

The third piece is called Keherwa and it features some great playing from two percussion players. All the nuances are perfectly caught by the engineers. Lively and vigorous.

Dark Clouds, the masterpiece. The vocals here by Cassius Khan is at times as if from another world. I am utterly fascinated by his ability to change his voice, to make a sort of tremor that we haven´t heard since Purcell. He sings in Hindi and Jennifer Lauren Goldberg answers in English, with loads of vocal overdubs. A fantasy. But then Khan appears with his scary voice – how can he make these sounds? The second section opens for some super virtuoso tabla playing. This sounds like a procession. A proud music with tablas absolutely all over the place.

To end this Khan sings some, for me, strange and exciting things and the layers of vocals are again lovely. Khan is shaking his vocal chords and the music is gathering tension. To hear is to believe! The whole thing floats, the skies open and the rain falls.

I have listened to this in the 5.0 version and it is a masterpiece of engineeering. The rears are used rather sparingly, no gimmick here. The surround sound is used to great and tasteful effect.

World music. Well, the world is getting smaller and I welcome every influence into my small world.
© 2006 Thomas Roth and SA-CD.net

Dark Clouds
Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan | Dedication Records (2006)

Once in a blue moon, a record comes along that challenges your preconceived ideas of what music is and should be. It forces you, painlessly, into listening in a way that is alien to you. Rhythms drift in and out of your brain waves, scaring you, then comforting you. This is one of those records.

What is it? Is it jazz, is it fusion, is it Indian, is it blues? Well, I can clear that up for you. It is all and none of the above. And it is more. Stu Goldberg may be a familiar name to some, having plied his trade as a keyboard player with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Jack Bruce and numerous others. Names that are, frankly, too heavy for the likes of me to drop. But when he sat down one day to jam (man) with tabla whiz Cassius Khan, his musical world flipped around.

The opening, twenty minute plus, “Ragmala” switches between raga, Indian classical, jazz and Professor Longhair at will. “Rain”, which features the unbelievable vocals of Jennifer Lauren Goldberg, is a ballad that just rips right through you before the percussion duet of “Keherwa”. The closing, title track, is a three part symphony, beginning with a Hindi / English lament sung by Cassius and the returning Ms Goldberg, leading into a percussive frenzy, ending with the Dark Clouds bursting forth.

One of the most inspirational musical works I have heard in a long (long) time.
— S.A. Hamilton, Zeitgeist, PO Box 13499, Edinburgh EH6 8YL, United Kingdom

Dark Clouds
Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan
Dedication Records DR-2181 (Hybrid SACD)

Stu Goldberg’s name might be associated with Jazz-Rock Fusion by many listeners. Though perhaps best known for his associations with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola and Billy Cobham, Goldberg has recorded some genre-defying music as a leader since those days, including stunning solo piano. Based in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, he is a technically advanced player with plenty to “say.” He takes his time saying it on two remarkable pieces that bookend this new SACD release. “Ragamala” (“Garland of Ragas”) is a 21:13 piano-tabla duo that takes the traditional Indian Classical music mode of notes from many ragas instead of just one into cross-cultural terrain, exploring jazz-based improvisation, European concert music, blues and the New Orleans of James Booker along the way. Khan is a superb tabla player, and this track alone is worth the price of the disc. The closing “Dark Clouds” adds multi-layered vocals to the mix, Jennifer Lauren Goldberg singing in English and Khan in Hindi; nearly 20 minutes long, it’s not quite as riveting as “Ragamala” is, but percussionists will sit up and take notice while listening to Khan’s tour de force solo. “Rain” is a vocal showcase written by Jennifer Lauren Goldberg and “Keherwa” a traditional eight beat rhythmic cycle played by Khan on tablas in two tunings and Goldberg on frame drum and Udu Igbah. I don’t have the technological bells and whistles to sample the “high resolution 5.0 multichannel surround” but it sounds great on my relatively modest two-channel equipment. Goldberg wears four hats: musician, producer, recording engineer and mixing engineer.
— Bill Barton, Signal to Noise , Winter 2007, Issue #44

Dark Clouds
Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan | Dedication Records (2006)
Stu Goldberg garnered initial attention as a member of John McLaughlin’s mid to late-1970s Mahavishnu Orchestra and One Truth Band, but the keyboardist seemed to disappear off the map soon after. In the intervening years he’s been busy as a film scorer and has recently begun to re-established himself as a leader on a series of albums focusing on his acoustic piano skills. But while Going Home (Rhombus, 2001) and Dedication (Dedication, 2002) were more conventional in terms of instrumentation, general jazz-centricity and consistent lineups, Dark Clouds is another beast entirely.

Goldberg met Canadian-based tablaist/vocalist Cassius Khan at a local club in Penticton, Canada, and a visit shortly thereafter to Goldberg’s studio found the two improvising as if they’d been playing together for years. While those recordings aren’t the basis of Dark Clouds, they set the stage for a subsequent session where two lengthy improvisations bookend two shorter pieces: a song by vocalist Jennifer Lauren Goldberg and a pure percussion duet.

Lauren Goldberg has a whispery yet soulful voice. “Rain,” with a different treatment, could easily be transposed into the pop world, while on the nineteen-minute title track, her loose call-and-response with Khan’s plaintive singing demonstrate even greater breadth. “Keherwa” is based on a rhythmic cycle with Goldberg on frame drum and clay udu igbah, trading off with Khan before the two blend together in exciting unison.

But the core of Dark Clouds is the two improvisations. Goldberg’s stream-of-consciousness approach is reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, but with a stronger world music focus. The undeniably virtuosic player builds the 21-minute “Ragamala” from empty space into greater drama that’s as much rooted in gospel and blues as it is Indian classical music. Khan’s equally capable, and while there are moments when the two feel a touch out of synch—Goldberg laying down broad and spare chords while Khan plays at lightning speed—more often than not, they work well together. This is a meeting of equals, each capable of following the other’s lead but equally, through moments of tension, driving the music in other directions.

What makes the improvisations on Dark Clouds work is the feeling that, despite the spontaneity at play, there’s a subconscious game plan. Duets can often be the most vulnerable of musical interactions, since there’s nowhere to hide if the players aren’t in touch. But while the risks taken on Dark Cloud result in brief moments where Goldberg and Khan have to catch up with one another, for the most part they move with a singular and unspoken purpose.

Track listing: Ragamala; Rain; Keherwa; Dark Clouds.
Personnel: Stu Goldberg: piano, percussion; Cassius Khan: tabla, vocals; Jennifer Lauren Goldberg: vocals (2,4).
John Kelman, All About Jazz

Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan “Dark Clouds” [SACD] CD
2006 Dedication Records
One of the best albums ever recorded by collaborating artists, “Dark Clouds” is a true masterpiece performed by two of the world’s finest artists, Tabla player and singer Cassius Khan and famed pianist Stu Goldberg.

Their mastery is incredible, with interludes of piano and rushing torrents of tabla, vocals and a couple of sweeter numbers by singer Jennifer Lauren, the album is well balanced and well recorded.Cassius Khan is the tabla equivalent to Stu Goldberg, and Goldberg of course being the famed keyboardist with the Mahavishnu Orchestra back in the day, is as bright and as bold as ever in this mindblowing collaboration. Cassius Khan is also a famed tabla player and singer, whose name has reached Europe and the South Pacific. In my professional opinion, Cassius Khan is one of the best multi talented musicians in the world, in a class of his own, with a unique and incredible tabla and singing style. He’s the only one on the entire planet who can play tablas and sing at the same time!

I strongly recommend everyone to buy and listen to their album. My favourites are the Ragamala piece in track 1 and the tabla solo in track 4 with Khan’s singing afterwards. It will send chills down your spine.
— Marcel S Revoir, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA, E-JazzNews.com

Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan “Dark Clouds” [SACD] CD
2006 Dedication Records
Stu Goldberg was a Mitchel Forman precursor in John McLaughlin’s bands of the seventies. His synthesizer runs helped propel the third version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the One Truth Band. He later enjoyed a successful solo piano recording career in Europe before giving the road up to settle down in British Columbia. He has owned a recording studio for many years and has written music for movies and television, including the hit show The Amazing Race.

Recently, Stu decided he was ready to hit the road again. His and Khan’s new album Dark Clouds should pave the way for a very rewarding trip.

Goldberg has spent a considerable amount of time studying Indian music. On the new album he has integrated this study seamlessly into his bluesy jazz approach. Joining him are tabla player and vocalist Cassius Khan and vocalist Jennifer Lauren Goldberg. Goldberg certainly is not the only player out there these days who has become enamored with the possibilities of East-West fusion. The movement seems to be growing every week. However, Goldberg is taking the piano, never a strong voice in Indian music, to places it has not been.

Stu Goldberg: Keyboards have been used in Indian music for years. For instance, playing monophonic melodic phrases on the harmonium (portable hand pump organ) is common and is mainly used as an accompaniment to Indian classical vocals. And of course synthesizers & electronic keyboards have been used for years in Bollywood to create the sound of a bigger ensemble, filling between vocal phrases and playing string pads. But, to my knowledge, the piano hasn’t been used as a featured instrument in the way that we do on Dark Clouds.

Indeed, Goldberg’s emphatic playing strongly suggests that the piano could have been introduced to a leading role in Indian music instrumentation long ago. Goldberg has meshed his Eastern influences with his Western classical and jazz vocabulary to such a degree, that the end result is neither.

Goldberg made a very calculated “less is more” decision.

Stu Goldberg: My goal in this project was to create an intimacy through the sparse instrumentation and open production, where we (He and percussionist Khan) could bounce ideas off of each other and have freedom to really stretch out. Sonically, both the tabla and piano have such a wide frequency range, I thought it important to leave sonic space for that range to be heard and developed.

Goldberg’s daughter, Jennifer, makes her recording debut. She sings, in English, in duet with Khan (not in English) and solo. It takes a moment or two to get used to the English lyrics in this context, but soon you will find yourself right in the pocket. Khan is an impressive percussionist and singer. Goldberg’s voice is a cross between the jazz-tinged sophistication of Norah Jones and breathlessness of a pop diva. It quite effectively contributes to the cross-cultural picture her proud father is painting.

Dark Clouds showcases Goldberg’s global imagination and his dazzling control of the black and white keys before him. His re-emergence on the scene is a welcome event.
Walter Kolosky, All About Jazz

Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan “Dark Clouds” [SACD] CD
2006 Dedication Records

One of the greatest albums ever recorded, Dark Clouds features stalwart pianist Stu Goldberg and Phenomenon Cassius Khan the tabla player and singer with singer Jennifer Lauren.
Goldberg really does turn the piano inside out, as one of his reviews has said, and is an incredibly gifted master of his instrument. I have never heard anyone play with such a sensitivity and such a touch as he can, and his solos are truly inspring and chilling. His dexerity on the piano is so incredible that you really have to listen for your self to hear what I mean!
Khan is a phenomenon at his craft of tabla playing. His playing sounds like a rushing avalanche one minute, and a dancing peacock the next minute, his tabla is the best I have ever heard, even better than some of the tabla greats like Zakir Hussain. Plus, he’s an equivalent vocalist, with a voice that will leave you mindblown and speechless. Khan is a truly complete musician, a tabla wizard, or as a festival reviewer put it, a “Tabla Tornado”.
Jennifer Lauren adds a light touch with her beautiful voice, and compliments the album, which is full of incredible mastery from Khan and Goldberg. I really enjoyed her songs immensely, her voice sounds like an angel!
This album may be awarded a Grammy for World Music. I am most certain of it.
— Zenobia H., Lover of World Music
SHANTINIKETAN NEWSLETTER, Holland, E-JazzNews.com

Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan “Dark Clouds” [SACD] CD
2006 Dedication Records

Recognized for his work with jazz-fusion pioneers; drummer Billy Cobham, guitarist Al Di Meola and other notables, keyboardist Stu Goldberg opts for a sublime, Indo-jazz scenario here on this new effort. With tabla performer and vocalist Cassius Khan, the music boasts a jazz-flavored approach towards East Indian modal practices. Goldberg intertwines lush harmonic phrasings atop Khan’s steady pulses, while also injecting subtle blues and gospel inferences in selected spots. Therefore, the pianist executes vertically expansive choruses above Khan’s horizontal rhythmic plane.
Jennifer Lauren Goldberg’s soulful and resonant vocals on “Rain,” offers a disparate angle, whereas Khan generates some heat during his powerful solo spot on “Keherwa.” The title track serves as the finale, where the dual vocalists cast an air of enchantment amid Goldberg’s trance-like and mystically oriented chord clusters.
… it’s an unassumingly attractive outing, indeed.
— Glenn Astarita, E-JazzNews.com

An exciting and satisfying blend of East and West musical cultures

Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan – Dark Clouds – Dedication Records
Multichannel SACD DR-2181, 54:46 ****:

(Stu Goldberg, piano & percussion/ Cassius Khan, tabla & vocals/ Jennifer Lauren Goldberg, vocals)

Stu Goldberg was keyboardist with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and has played with Al Di Meola, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and others. He currently lives in Penticton, B.C. and a chance informal musical exchange with master of East Indian classical singing and tabla playing Cassius Khan expanded into this program which mixes East and West. Cassius is unique in being able to perform on the highly skilled tablas while simultaneously singing in the Ghazal Gayaki style.

Ragamala, the first and longest of the four tracks, is a duo between piano and tabla, as the two musicians did on their first meeting. Goldberg’s improvisations travel thru a multicultural world mixing elements of Indian music, jazz, blues, even New Orleans piano-professor style (Katrina had just occurred and Goldberg was thinking of fellow musicians there). The tabla rhythms bounce back and forth across the frontal sound stage with dizzying speed. Rain, the second track, brings in Goldberg’s daughter Jennifer, accompanied by piano and percussion, while the third track is a percussion duo. The title and final track, Dark Clouds, mixes overdubbed vocals by both Cassius and Jennifer with Goldberg’s piano and a tabla tour de force, which concludes with the sound effect of a rainstorm.

Both Goldberg and Khan are virtuoso performers and have come up with some exciting and satisfying musical explorations. I am reminded of the blending of jazz and Indian music on many of the Water Lily Acoustics discs. And the emphasis on high quality hi-res surround sound is also shared with that label.
— John Henry, Audiophile Audition

Stu Goldberg and Cassius Khan : Dark Clouds
Goldberg, producer. Hybrid multichannel SACD. Dedication 2181

Stu Goldberg is no stranger to musical exploration, especially when it comes to Indian influences. For five years in the mid-1970s, he manned the keyboard stool in the Mahavishnu Orchestra and has also teamed up with such daring fusion artists as John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Al DiMeola, Jack Bruce, and Alphonse Mouzon. His recent solo albums, including 2002’s straight-ahead jazz releases Going Home and Dedication, have included stints with his saxophonist and flutist brother Kenny Goldberg. Of late, Goldberg has been composing film and TV scores. A striking acoustic-fusion outing that features tabla and vocal virtuoso Cassius Khan, and vocalist Jennifer Lauren Goldberg, his 21-year-old daughter, Dark Clouds finds Goldberg exploring a variety of genres ranging from jazz to Indian classical, New Orleans R&B to blues. Goldberg, on acoustic piano and percussion, is in a somewhat introspective mood. Two of the four songs reflect on or evoke the pensive emotions of a rainy day. The opening and closing pieces, each averaging 20 minutes, are built around classical Indian ragamala style. For the title track, Khan and Jennifer sing in Hindi and English, respectively, turning in a hauntingly cathartic performance. These songs are a far cry from the experimentation of Goldberg’s youth, yet there is an understood maturity to his latest compositions. Case in point is “Keherwa,” a six-and-half minute drum jam built on a traditional eight-beat rhythmic cycle, where Goldberg plays frame drum and udu igbah, trading licks with Khan, who uses two different tunings of tablas. The scintillating session climaxes with the percussionists in unison, each delivering a powerful one-two punch. Goldberg obviously takes pride in his work, from the intricate structure of his song craft to the high-caliber performances to the 24-bit digital surround sound. You hear it in the crystalline purity of his piano playing, the thunderous vibrancy of the percussion, and the sheer beauty of Jennifer’s vocals. Behold the joyful noise.
— The Absolute Sound, Greg Cahill, January 2007 issue

Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan “Dark Clouds” [SACD] CD
2006 Dedication Records
Former Mahavishnu Orchestra and oft-enlisted session keyboardist Stu Goldberg melds East Indian chants and ragas into delightful jazz-oriented tone poems. He engages the mind’s eye with enchanting frameworks during these extended acoustic piano workouts featuring pulsating rhythms and trance-like vocals.
— Glenn Astarita (Jazz Journalist)

STU GOLDBERG & CASSIUS KHAN: RAGAMALA
TRACK: Ragamala

ARTIST: Stu Goldberg (piano) and Cassius Khan (tabla)

CD: Dark Clouds (Dedication Records DR-2181)

Musicians: Stu Goldberg (piano), Cassius Khan (tabla). Composed by Stu Goldberg.
Recorded: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, October 2005
RATING: 96/100
Within three months of meeting each other, pianist Stu Goldberg and tabla virtuoso Cassius Khan were in Goldberg’s studio recording Dark Clouds. The overly talented Goldberg is still probably best known for his association in several John McLaughlin bands. But he has had much success in Europe with his own records and has scored dozens of commercial projects such as the music for the television show The Amazing Race. For years, he has owned and run a recording studio in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Over the last several years he has become fascinated with the music of India and has seriously studied Indian percussion. So a project with the superlative Indian percussionist Khan makes all the sense in the world.

“Ragamala” is a tour de force of the modern Indo-jazz-fusion movement. Though the piano has been used in Indian music for years, it has never been the driving melodic force that Goldberg makes it here. The 21-minute “Ragamala” is an improvisation based on the notes from many ragas instead of only one. His manipulation of the Indian scales on piano to introduce the piece is a true revelation to Western ears. But he does not stop there. Goldberg paints a varying landscape of many cultures. Throughout the piece, he seamlessly weaves Indian, classical, jazz and blues themes with great aplomb. He is just a wonderful player. Khan is a strong rhythmic supporter. He also easily changes identities from Eastern to Western mode and back again. This raga is full of dramatic and inventive moments. Its divergent components merge at some point, but it’s not clear where. “Ragamala” is one of those transitive pieces of music in the Indo-jazz-fusion vocabulary. The last such piece I heard, “Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi,” was from the violinist L. Shankar, who now calls himself Shenkar, way back in 1981 on his Who’s to Know album. At the very least, Goldberg’s variations of the raga form performed on piano are sure to get a lot of other pianists, both Western and Eastern, motivated to try to do the same.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

What Radio DJs are saying about “Dark Clouds”:
The combination of Stu and Cassius is brilliant, to which Jennifer adds a magical ingredient.
— Tony Wickham, Radio Maldwyn, UK

DARK CLOUDS from Stu Goldberg with Cassius Khan and Jennifer Lauren Goldberg proved to be one of the most haunting records of the past year. Quite incredible.
— Eric Cohen, WAER – Jazz 88, Syracuse, New York

Fantastic album Great stuff for our Radio Station
— Alex Pijnen, BRTO Radio

What a great sound you have
— Michael Criddle, Triple H-FM

GREAT PASSED ON TO WORLD HOST TRACK #3 MY FAVORITE
— Al Jonusas, WRHC 106.7 FM

An interesting and diverse recording with some great vocals and piano playing…Wow!
— Tony Bates, Highlands 100.7FM

I truly enjoyed the instrumentation and musical expression. Clear and precise.
— Henry Brun, KRTU San Antonio, Texas

STU GOLDBERG AND CASSIUS KHAN – “DARK CLOUDS”
CUT 1, “RAGAMALA”
Stu’s grand piano, alone, then in virtuosic, improvisatory duet with Cassius on tabla . A “garland of ragas” (ragamala) which moves freely between different ragas, and from Hindustani into Western classical and New Orleans musics. It was recorded weeks after Hurricane Katrina. Superbly recorded.
— Doug Spencer, The Weekend Planet, ABC, Australian Broadcasting Company

Like the sound quality.
— Bob Parzych, WRTC

Bonjour, thank you for such a great music I really enjoyed. I added it to my WJAZ broadcast play list on RADIO PLURIEL 91.5FM in France, plus worldwide INTERNET via our web site, www.plurielfm.org.
— Jacques Perrichon, WJAZ, France.

Very good CD. I play it in my show.
— Louis Brunet, CKMN-FM 96.5, Saint-Anaclet, Quebec, Canada

I have been playing the Dark Clouds CD in my Friday night show called World Music, and I have had a great response to the cd. My personal favourite track is number 4, that just gives me goose bumps! But I really enjoyed the whole CD. I love the sound of the tabla and the traditional Hindi singing, Jennifer’s voice is very etherial. I love songs with stories behind them.
— Mhairie Lee, HUON-FM, Geeveston, Tasmania

An excellent CD.
— Lili, Artsound 92.7 FM , Belconnen, Australia

I liked very much your new album DARK CLOUDS.
— Francisco Manuel Lopez Herrero, LA OTRA ORILLA, RÀDIO DESPÍ, Barcelona, Spain

Very nice first cut on this recording. Goldberg has a lot to say on this long improvisation.
— Eric Leff, WRUV Billings Student Center V Univ. of Vermont, Burlington

Dark Clouds is a strong release with near haunting ambience. Stu Goldberg’s and Cassius Khan’s excellent musical skills are well-displayed through in deeply-textured arrangements that both soothe and chill. Combined with ethereal vocals and tight production, Dark Cloud’s showcases Stu’s talented diversity on keyboards and, with Cassius’s percussive enhancement, help make for a most memorable release.
— Rankin, hbnradio.org, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Interesting pieces.
— Pascal Dorban, ‘Jazz.com’ broadcast Radio ARA, Luxembourg

Nice work.
–Claude Colpaert, Radio Campus, Haubourdin, France

Kia Ora, This is a great CD. I love the textural tones that exist between the piano, tabla and voice on this CD.
— Mark Robinson, GeorgeFM, Auckland, New Zealand

What listeners are saying about “Dark Clouds”:

I had the opportunity to listen to the new album, “Dark Clouds” with Stu Goldberg and Cassius Khan. It is an experience I will never forget! The magical journey these two artists have embarked on is mindblowing, and awesome. I have been a big fan of Stu for years, and I have followed Cassius Khan’s career when he was touring in the States.

The musicianship with these guys is so incredibly melded together, with their abilities to twist and twine incredible patterns in complicated cycles of rhythm. Stu Goldberg is in my opinion, the undisputed champion of piano playing, is arguably the greatest Jazz pianist on earth, and Cassius Khan is a serene wizard with his tossed curly locks, blurring hands and lightining bolt vocal range, a phenomenon the world has never seen before his birth, and will never see after either.

Jennifer Lauren Goldberg, who also sang on the album, created a calmness in her song “Rain” with her angelic voice and perfectly balanced the mad torrents of tabla and piano that Goldberg and Khan created. I recommend highly the Ragamala piece and the tabla solo in Dark Clouds in which Khan unleashes the fury of his tablas, followed by an incredible vocal composition with lightning bolt vocal cadences by Khan with Goldberg’s unmatched piano playing – a masterpiece album which should sell at least 50 million copies!
— Reviewer unknown, ejazznews.com

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I recently had a chance to listen to the album “Dark Clouds” at a popular nightspot in Vancouver, and after some arm twisting (of the CD owner) I took the CD home to write a review.

I was completely blown away by the musicianship Goldberg and Khan unleashed in their debut album together. I have seen Khan perform solo tabla live and sing as well, as I am a die hard fan of his, but this collaboration with Stu Goldberg has really hit the spot for me!

Goldberg plays the piano seamlessly, without any effort and comes up with the most intricate melodies. He is an absolute master on the piano. Khan, of course, uses his uncanny intuition and charismatic personality alongside his prowess on the tabla and Indian classical vocal music. The combination of these two artists is what I would call, “A Masterpiece.” What I love about this album is how beautifully both Goldberg and Khan compliment each other’s playing, it is as if the two of them are joined into the same mind, like Siamese twins, reading each other’s next moves and thoughts.

Jennifer Lauren also adds a wonderful and refreshing addition to the album with her song, “Rain” and I was very impressed with her soothing voice and musicality. However, in the last piece, “Dark Clouds,” Lauren is at par in the task of keeping up with the mastery of Cassius Khan’s vocal abilities, adding light textures to Khan’s rich and majestic vocal style. Goldberg is equally on par, with an amazing sensitivity to Indian vocal music. I was completely spellbound by the “Dark Clouds” composition!

The Ragamala piece with the two masters is truly a masterpiece, the percussion duet lighthearted and fun, and the album ends with a blistering tabla solo and traditional vocal piece by Khan, with Goldberg’s thunderous piano accompaniment, and Lauren’s soft and wonderfully sweet voice. The album ends with an actual soundscape of thunder, and rain. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!!
This album gets five out of five stars for me!!
— A. Dhaliwal, e-jazznews.com

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I was in Kelowna’s Rotary Centre of the Arts on November 4th, 2006 to witness Stu Goldberg and Cassius Khan LIVE IN CONCERT. It was a special promo concert to inaugurate the release of their debut album, “Dark Clouds.”

When these two beautiful men came onto the stage with their opulent Indian clothes, it took my breath away. Cassius Khan’s hair does it for me! To watch these two live was like witnessing the universe reborn. I was numb from my head to my toes, my eyes couldn’t peel themselves away from the graceful waves of fingers on Stu Goldberg’s hands, his body literally suspended in midair when he came rushing up the octaves, or the torrents of crushing fury the fingers of Cassius Khan’s hands blurred on the tablas, his gorgeous hair tossing around to every movement in his body, and WHAT A GREAT SINGER HE IS TOO. How the human body can create such sparks of energy is well beyond me!

Jennifer Lauren, beautiful to look at, was stunning as she sang alongside Stu’s piano and Cassius’s tablas. She was a welcome addition to the concert, which allowed us to breathe, because when Cassius and Stu played, the entire audience seemed to hold their breath in anticipation, in awe, in disbelief of their divine skills on their musicianship, and how strikingly handsome both of them were.

I purchased the album, and listened to it immediately when I got home, and all I can say is that I experienced all those drenching feelings of Rain and Dark Clouds, and I was, and still am, being transported into a completely different universe every time I turn the CD on.

I am so blessed and so thankful, that I got to see Cassius Khan’s spectacular talent with his rich voice and incredible tabla playing alongside Stu Goldberg’s impossible piano virtuosity, LIVE IN CONCERT!
— Kerry Mastifson, Jazz enthusiast, e-jazznews.com

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This is a fine example of a well recorded album. The musicianship, as said in all the reviews on the net, is incredible between these two fine masters of music, Stu Goldberg, and Cassius Khan.

I have been a Stu Goldberg fan for years, I saw him at the Monterey Festival in the 1970’s. He has always been a cool cat, well spoken, well versed in music… He did disappear for about two decades or so, making music for countless films, like Indiana Jones and more recently, The Amazing Race. It’s great to know he’s still around. Check out this cat’s website, www.stugoldberg.com

Cassius Khan is a name that has spanned internationally quite quickly, he is most famous for his collaborations with Ellen Mcilwaine, Pavlo and some famous Indian musicians Indian musicians. His forte, though, lies in Indian music, and his performances as a soloist in tabla and vocal singing is amazing. He is apparently the only musician in the world who can play the tablas and sing at the same time. Check out his website, cassiuskhan.impendo.com and listen to the clips!

What these two guys have done together is a definite Grammy Award winning album, a wonderful collaboration that has inspired solos, duo’s and another lovely young voice, Jennifer Lauren, who balances the album perfectly with her ballads.

You can purchase this album on Stu Goldberg’s website, www.stugoldberg.com and you should buy it fast.

If you want to see their live concert clips, go to the website or go to www.youtube.com and type is either Stu’s or Cassius’s full name, and enjoy the clips.

GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ALBUM FOR 2007: DARK CLOUDS, STU GOLDBERG AND CASSIUS KHAN WITH JENNIFER LAUREN…
— Tavin Mooring, Queensland, AUSTRALIA, e-jazznews.com

Dedication – Reviews – Dedication Records – DED-0142

Stu Goldberg, DEDICATION (Dedication Records)
“Movie and TV composer Stu Goldberg was, for five years, keyboardist with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu group and, following that, a concert pianist throughout Europe for four years. For some time now he has broken from the seclusion of his studio to play clubs along the Gold Coast, with occasional forays into Los Angeles at places like Catalina’s and Spazio’s. He also made a couple of CD’s, the latest of which is DEDICATION . Playing with him on it are his regulars, brother Kenny Goldberg on saxes and flute, Jeff Falkner at the bass and Dave Renick at the drums. These are all fine musicians and display their special talents admirably throughout the CD.

The recording features eight tracks of original compositions by Goldberg, probably one of the most remarkable pianists on the scene today, as can be attested by those who have seen and heard him. His artistry is well in evidence on this CD, which opens with “Morning Star,’ followed by “Pokhara,” “Anthem” and the title tune, “Dedication.” Each of these tracks give the individual musicians ample solo time, with the leader’s sparkling keyboarding, flutist-saxophonist Goldberg showing his mettle, bassist Falkner demonstrating again and again why he deserves to be better known, and drummer Renick driving the band well, while adhering to the demanding charts.

The final four compositions are “Being With You,” “Once Again,” “Westward Reach” and “Winter Clouds.” As with the first four pieces, the rhythmic range is from upbeat to slow. “Westward Reach” is one of the tunes set to a fast pace on which Kenny Goldberg plays an impressively torrid tenor sax solo, segueing into brother Stu’s equally burning rendition on the piano. Both Falkner and Renick also make their presence known in a convincing manner.

Stu Goldberg’s music has a classical feel to it, with the tunes often starting slowly and in a melancholy manner, but then springing to life within a jazz context. The endings, at times, can be like a kiss good-bye – prolonged but beautiful. In all, the music is marvelously written and the playing of it outstanding.
Highly Recommended.”
–Bob Agnew, LA Jazz Scene , September 2002

Dedication
Artist Stu Goldberg
Date of Release 2002
AMG Rating **** (4 stars)
“Dedication is the follow-up to pianist/composer Stu Goldberg’s much heralded release of 2001 titled Going Home . It features 8 original compositions filled with intricate interplay, florid improvisation and tight ensemble passages from the pianist alongside bassist Jeff Falkner, drummer Dave Renick and Kenny Goldberg on saxes and flute. The innovative pianist, who played with some of the most daring fusion artists of the 70s including Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, Alphonse Mouzon, and Wayne Shorter, continues to make his mark in the 21st century with a genuine sense of the depth and range of straight-ahead jazz. Opening with “Morning Star,” a light, beautiful piece with Kenny Goldberg’s flute out front on the melody, the ensemble offers the listener variety and the pacing necessary for a truly rewarding aural experience that sustains interest. Each player’s solo is clean, articulate and is played with a healthy sense of adventure. “Winter Clouds,” is just the opposite – a beautiful pensive, introspective ballad that features Stu Goldberg alone on the acoustic piano. He provides a vivid pictorial through arpeggios and chord changes that suggests the airy floatation and dissipation of clouds on a winter day. This is a lovely song that is both relaxing and sensitive. Overall, the eight originals and great musicality make Dedication a work of art worthy of addition to any jazz collection.”
–Paula Edelstein, All Music Guide

Stu Goldberg
Dedication, Dedication Records 0142
Stu Goldberg, piano; Kenny Goldberg, saxes and flute; Jeff Falkner, bass; Dave Renick, drums.

“Pianist/composer Stu Goldberg has put together a winning effort here. “Morning Star,” featuring Kenny Goldberg’s flute is light, yet not saccharine. The tune moves along with great melodic solos from both Goldbergs…”Anthem” is a beautiful ballad that blends piano and soprano sax. The very gentle ballad, “Once Again,” is a gorgeous composition. Bassist Falkner delivers a melodic solo then moves into an easy swing with drummer Renick. Stu Goldberg unleashes a marvelous solo that really shows the sense of romanticism inherent in all the compositions here.

With Dedication, Goldberg continues to show himself to be a masterful pianist, as well as a melodic composer. Recommended.”
— Michael Bettine, Jazz Now

“Stu Goldberg’s piano lyricism shines on his new DEDICATION CD”.
–Dick Crockett, Still Another Jazz Show,
“The Voice” 88.7fm, Sacramento, Ca .

Dedication
“Goldberg is a masterful pianist and exquisite musical storyteller. This will appeal to fans of a wide gamut of jazz styles.”
— Mark E. Gallo, jazzreview.com

Going Home – Reviews

“Going Home is wonderful. It’s a refreshing sound full of life and vitality. The cinematic presence in Stu Goldberg’s compositions and the spirited soulful communication between the four musicians create a unique fifth voice of a very special quartet.”
— Dave Fields, Producer/Host KSDS Jazz88, San Diego

Going Home **** (4 stars)
“Stu Goldberg has been successful as a composer of film and TV scores as well as an active performer working with Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and others. He also served a five year stint with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. On his initial album for the Rhombus label, Goldberg applies his high level of pianistic prowess to a set of his above the bar compositions. Performed by quartet of skilled and determined musicians, the session runs the gamut from the deeply pensive and intellectual to the high flying and exciting, all having the common denominator of being compelling. There is a flair about the music that takes it out of the realm of the to be listened to once and then put aside. While modern, Goldberg’s work has a sense of structure that keeps the listener in tune with what’s going on, rather casting him/her aside in favor of creating outlandish improvisations that no one can comprehend or follow. The reverie in the playing on such cuts as “Yvonne” and “Spirals” is contrasted with the wildy swinging “The Core the Apple”, an up tempo excursion into hard bop with Kenny Goldberg’s (Stu’s brother) sax and Dave Renick’s drums leading the way. Kenny Goldberg shows his virtuosity with the flute as he and his brother take the group through an exhilarating Latin based “Baião”. The piece de resistance is the title tune. A fitting coda for the session, it is an improvisional solo by Goldberg bringing together his technical command of the piano with his emotional fervor… This is a CD filled with diverse, ear catching rhythms making it an eminently attractive listen”.
— Dave Nathan, All Music Guide

Going Home
“Upon listening to Stu Goldberg’s latest release, Going Home on the Rhombus Records label, it certainly doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a university music professor, for that matter) to surmise that Goldberg is a veteran of writing music for motion pictures and television. The seven Goldberg originals that comprise Going Home certainly have a flavor of music that could function very easily in that capacity. It is also evident from Goldberg’s skills as a pianist, and his jazz playing, that he draws upon his experiences from having been a veteran of working with many great jazz musicians/bandleaders. Going Home is a very enjoyable recording, and would be a most welcome addition to those who enjoy well-crafted music… interpreted and created by some first rate improvisation and musicianship.”
— Craig W. Hurst, Jazzreview.com

Going Home
“Keyboardist Stu Goldberg knows about going the high-production route in recording a CD, having performed music by famed film composers John Williams (as featured performer on the sountrack to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ) and by Lalo Schifrin. But Goldberg’s credits also include works by organic jazzmen like saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Perhaps to balance his recent glossy work on the CBS series ” The Amazing Race ,” Goldberg chose to record his latest solo CD Going Home (Rhombus), live in his California home studio with an acoustic quartet. “It’s all about communication,” he says, “Player interaction.” On the ballad ” Yvonne ,” the pianist poignantly interacts with brother and saxophonist/flautist Kenny Goldberg, bassist Jeff Falkner, and drummer Dave Renick.”
— Bill Meredith, JAZZIZ

Going Home
“Gloriously energetic and exciting modern bebop lines from Stu Goldberg and company, managing to combine the flippancy of Charles Lloyd’s Forest Flower with the cocktail party calypso of Coltrane’s masterpiece A Love Supreme, then extention to a denser contemporary reading, incorporating a refinement of melody, restrained bass ostinati and thrusting unison motifs. For anyone wanting to hear communication in the quartet setting at it’s best then they need to reach for this album and take a listen to the interplay between soloist and rhythm section. Exphasis and crescendo come from Dave Renick’s cymbal work, tumbling the brothers Golberg’s (Stu: piano, Kenny: sax and flute) solo lines deep into the harmonious core, laid bare on the bones of Jeff Falkner’s spacious bass.
Now moving beyond his earlier use of synthesized keyboards and shining in his virtuosity of the acoustic instrument, Goldberg takes a look at the past, applies a modern twist and gives us an excellent album to enjoy and savour.”
— Julian F. Derry, web

CD re-release of EYE OF THE BEHOLDER (1981)

Review on All About Jazz

The measure of an artist’s worth is his entire oeuvre, not simply a specific moment in time, a particular group or a single release. Still, while keyboardist Stu Goldberg never made the name for himself that he should have as a member of John McLaughlin’s mid-’70s Mahavishnu Orchestra and late-’70s One Truth Band and as a sideman on drummer Alphonse Mouzon’s powerfully eclectic Virtue (MPS, 1977), also recently reissued by Germany’s Promising Music, the pianist’s Eye of the Beholder (MPS, 1982) was an album that, had it been released Stateside, might well have given him the boost he needed. Not that he’s not remained busy, releasing albums including the more World Music-centric Dark Clouds (Dedication Records, 2006), with tablaist/vocalist Cassius Khan and vocalist Lauren Goldberg, but listening to the work he did between 1975 and 1985 it is almost criminal that he never received greater accolades.
Eye of the Beholder will come as a surprise to fusion fans, being all-acoustic and sporting a string quartet on a number of its six Goldberg originals. But the writing is vibrant, and the arrangements for an expanded trio (bassist Jim Lacefield and drummer Dave Crigger—who may be working an acoustic trio here, but plays with a fusion attitude like his life depended on it) that also includes saxophonist/flautist Ken Goldberg and percussionist Lee Pastora in addition to the string quartet, burn with the same kind of energy with which fusion fans of Goldberg will be familiar.

The title track opens with a gospel feel, a mid-tempo piece of funk accessible yet so full of life and energy that it evokes an acoustic Brecker Brothers feel, right down to Ken Goldberg’s screaming tenor solo. A recent discussion at the AAJ forum was Funky Acoustic/Double Bass, and Lacefield’s tone and demeanor are nothing short of get-down. The aptly-titled “New Love” is gentler fare, Goldberg proving himself as lyrical as he is virtuosic. “Song Burst,” on the other hand, begins almost pastorally with the string quartet, Lacefield’s arco and Ken Goldberg’s flute, but quickly morphs into a fiery, optimistic-sounding burner that gives Stu the opportunity to demonstrate his not inconsiderable chops as the tune turns modal for his solo.

But as is the case with other songs on the disc, including the Latin-esque “Daybreak, Sunbeam,” these are no mere head-solo-head compositions. Instead, Goldberg has written a number of tunes that are episodic in nature yet hang together despite their sometimes abundant wealth of musical ideas.

Perhaps the most revealing and prescient tune on the disc is “Daybreak,” which begins with the same piano motif as “Daybreak, Sunrise” but, as a solo piano feature for Goldberg, turns more impressionistic and harbingers more recent work. Throughout, as democratic as Goldberg is as a leader, there’s no doubt who shines the most. Eye of the Beholder is an album that should have garnered Goldberg significant acclaim; perhaps this beautifully remastered reissue will do what the original didn’t.
Track listing: Eye of the Beholder; New Love; Song Burst; Daybreak, Sunbeam; Daybreak; Montreal.

Personnel: Stu Goldberg: piano; Jim Lacefield: acoustic bass; Dave Crigger: drums; Ken Goldberg: tenor saxophone, flute, piccolo; Lee Pastora: congas, bongos; Doug Cameron: first violin, concertmaster; Clayton Haslop: 2nd violin; Jimbo Ross: viola; Dan Smith: cello.

John Kelman, All About Jazz, Published: January 23, 2009