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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Straight No Chaser is the place for jazz lovers (and those who will soon be jazz lovers) to enjoy podcasts with their favorite music and artists. Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Readers' Poll for Best Podcast, your host Jeffrey Siegel will take you inside the world of jazz, from the new releases to the best festiva;s to remembrances of jazz legends.

An Ear-Opening Trip to "Bienestan"

Jun 13, 2011

Pianist Aaron Goldberg continues to emerge from the New York jazz scene as a collaborator to be reckoned with. He’s been the sideman for major label artists like Joshua Redman, and recorded extremely interesting and moving music with artists as varied as Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Ellis, Wayne Escoffery and Jimmy Greene. As a leader, he has recorded three noted CDs with the Redman rhythm section of drummer Eric Harland and bassist Reuben Rogers.

As co-leader, his work also shines. With Omer Avital and Marc Miralta he has crated the O.A.M. Trio, playing intricate originals and inspired covers from “Con Alma” to “Puff, the Magic Dragon”. He’s even worked with Ellis and Andy Hurwitz on the Baby Loves Jazz series of CDs and books.

Bienestan represents his first recorded collaboration in fifteen years with Argentine pianist-composer Guillermo Klein. A true partnership, the CD veers between quiet duets and larger group numbers. On the latter tracks, they are backed by Matt Penman on bass, Harland on drums and guests Miguel Zenon on alto sax and Chris Cheek on tenor and soprano sax.

Klein’s originals show a minimalist flair, whether on the duet “Airport Fugue” or the ensemble “Human Feel”. The joyful repetition can recalls Pat Metheny’s collaboration with Steve Reich, but at the same time, these recordings stand on their own. “Implacable” similarly lays down a repeating line, while allowing the two keyboardists room to improvise.

The two takes on the Brazilian standard “Manha de Carnaval (Black Orpheus)” illustrate why this CD never fails to interest. The first time through, the tune is stripped of its groove, and is a reflective, almost somber recording. The revisited take two tracks later builds on repeated chords, a subtle rhythm pulsing from Harland, taking the tune through a swinging place until it settles down by the song’s end. We need more musicians willing to tackle the past with open eyes and ears, and Goldberg and Klein provide us with two artists with both.