Portland, Oregon native-turned Chicago jazz scene pillar, John Goldman, provides a multi-course musical buffet on his newest effort In Walked Pierre
. The CD derives its name from singer Pierre Walker, who contributes a wordless unison line vocal to the relaxed, bossa-nova title track. Latin rhythms and harmonic ideas permeate this CD, and reflect Goldman's long association with top Latin musicians like Paulino Garcia and Ruben Alvarez.
Goldman's main instruments are the alto sax and flute, but he favors us with soprano sax work on three tunes. He is also the composer and arranger of eight out of the ten tunes on this CD. And the CD's two standards are no where near "standard" territory for contemporary jazz albums. The first is a funky, groove-based and somewhat modal excursion into the old Sinatra chestnut "It Was A Very Good Year." The group also blows through Billy Strayhorn's "Upper Manhattan Medical Group" at a brisk bop tempo, dispensing with the moderate, heavily-swinging feel shared by most renditions of this superb and underappreciated tune.
As for Goldman's originals, highlights include "Column Blues," a foot-pattin' 6/8 blues that cruises along under a flurry of eighth note triplets in the melody. "Hicks and Yahoos" mixes a 70's-ish electronic grove with (involuntarily?) sampled comments by Donna Goldman. And added into the mix is some fine bebop on "Wednesday Night" and "Katerina's".
A lot of Goldman's early years were spent with musicians such as Jeff Lorber, who played more in the contemporary vein. This CD maintains a readily-accessible contemporary edge, but brings together a multitude of styles, along with the talents of outstanding band members like pianist Dan Cray and trumpeter Pharez Whitted, to create an effort that should be easily enjoyed by any jazz fan.