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 "Spatial" is contrasted with the wildly 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 improvisational solo by Goldberg bringing together his technical command of the piano with his emotional fervor. Fortunately, for this CD Goldberg sticks with the acoustic piano, eschewing the synthesizer he has used on previous releases. This is a CD filled with diverse, ear-catching rhythms, making it an eminently attractive listen.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan