Guitarist Rich Goldstein to Release New Soul-Jazz Album “Into the Blue” on Sept. 27th, 2024

Guitarist Rich Goldstein Digs Into Soul Jazz Roots on “Into the Blue”

Release Date: September 27th, 2024
(Truth Revolution Records)

Veteran jazz guitarist and educator Rich Goldstein, a longtime faculty member at The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, channels some of his guitar heroes and main influences on Into the Blue. From Wes Montgomery and George Benson to Pat Martino, Joe Diorio and Randy Johnston, Goldstein’s playing on his debut release for the Truth Revolution label is marked by a seasoned touch, a penchant for swinging and obvious reverence for the history of jazz guitar.

Joined by organist Yahn Frankel, vibraphonist Behn Gillece and drummer Ben Bilello, Goldstein delivers in old school fashion on a program of well-known standards by Thelonious Monk, Django Reinhardt, Horace Silver, Stevie Wonder and the Beatles, along with two numbers popularized by Dinah Washington and Jack McDuff. These soul jazz takes are blues-tinged and authentically grooving, transporting listeners back to the golden era of Blue Note’s Hammond B3 organ tradition in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Goldstein’s third recording as a leader, following 2008’s Wes Montgomery tribute, Comin’ from Montgomery, and 2011’s Effervescent with pianist Andy LaVerne, bassist Steve LaSpina, saxophonist Billy Drewes and drummer Anthony Pinciotti, finds the guitarist and his crew nimbly shifting from hard bop burners (his Martino tribute, “Altered State”) to slow blues (“Our Miss Brooks,” written by Harold Vick for Jack McDuff’s group) to ballads (Dave Pike’s “Not a Tear,” Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages”) to bossa nova (a mellow Brazilian take on Stevie Wonder’s “You and I”), each imbued with requisite soul. “I love the organ groups going back to Wes Montgomery’s first album with Mel Rhyne, which was heavily influential for me,” said Goldstein. “But I liked all the organ groups from those times — Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Dr. Lonnie Smith. I came up with all that stuff. And I’m a blues player at heart. That’s really where I come from.”

Goldstein and his accomplished crew kick off Into the Blue with an infectious shuffle version of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night,” featuring plenty of blues-drenched Martino-inspired soloing and Wes-like octaves work from the leader, as well as potent solos from Gillece on vibes and Next up is a tender reading of guitarist Rudy Stevenson’s brooding ballad “Not a Tear (from vibraphonist Dave Pike’s 1964 album, Manhattan Latin, a recording that featured young Chick Corea and Cuban bass legend Cachao. Midway through the piece, they shift into an energized 12/8 feel for Goldstein’s guitar solo before settling into uptempo 4/4 swing behind Gillece’s and Frankel’s respective solos. “There’s not a lot of bands that have covered this song,” said Goldstein, who dedicated the piece to his late friend and collaborator, the great Cuban-born, Hartford-based bassist Charles Flores (who was mentored by Cachao). “As soon as I heard it I knew I wanted to include it on this date and dedicate it to my musical brother Charles Flores who I think about often. I subtly rearranged it. And if you listen carefully, I borrowed a littleturnaround from one of my favorite tunes when I was a kid — Led Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You,’ a really slow minor blues that I always loved.”

Their tasty rendition of Dinah Washington’s 1959 hit, “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes,” opens with Goldstein’s guitar setting the tone. Then a sequence of sparkling soloing by Goldstein, Frankel and Gillece culminates in some conversational exchanges between guitar and organ near the end of the familiar piece. They next put an engaging bossa nova spin on Stevie Wonder’s “You and I” (from 1972’s Talking Book), a romantic ballad which has become a favorite for weddings and vow renewals over the decades. And their take on Thelonious Monk’s “I Mean You” borrows a brassy soli section that Coleman Hawkins had conceived for his own rendition of that classic bebop tune that appears on his 1947 Fantasy album, Bean & The Boys. “Monk wrote the tune, but Coleman Hawkins came up with that soli section,” said Goldstein. “We try to play it in unison, and I put a Joe Diorio line right at the end of it.” And catch Frankel’s playful quote from Monk’s “Four In One” in the middle of his solo here.

Goldstein’s arrangement of “Nuages” finds drummer Bilello playing an alluring “Poinciana” beat with mallets underneath the legendary Django Reinhardt’s most popular tune from 1939. “I didn’t change much,” he explained. “It’s pretty much the tune everyone knows with that same kind of romantic vibe to it. I just thought the ‘Poinciana’ beat gives it something different. It goes nicely under that tune and keeps it kind of buoyant.”

They luxuriate in Harold Vick’s “Our Miss Brooks,” a super-slow blues number that builds to dynamic crescendos, with stellar soloing along the way by Goldstein, Gillece and Frankel. Their rendition of Horace Silver’s “Cool Eyes” (from 1956’s 6 Pieces of Silver on the Blue Note label is an arrangement by frequent Goldstein collaborator, pianist Jim Argiro. “He’s 84 now and I still play in a group with him,” he explained. “He’s an arranger who was in Los Angeles for many years and did TV shows in the ‘60s like Sonny and Cher and The Tonight Show. He was Leslie Uggams’ musical director and wrote many of Bernadette Peters’ early arrangements for orchestra. He wrote charts that are in the Basie book, he’s done everything. He’s got tons of arrangements. His quintet book has over 550 arrangements dating back to 1965. So, for this tune, I just adapted it for our organ group. So, I borrowed that from Jim.”

The leader’s lone original on the album, “Altered State,” is a shout out to his guitar hero, Pat Martino. “It’s a new tune I had just written and never really played live,” he explained. “It’s named ‘Altered State’ because of what Pat went through with the brain aneurysm he had in the ‘80s and because all the chords in the tune are altered chords. And I really borrowed that fast line at the ending from Pat, though nobody can articulate like Pat Martino.” The album closes with the lone trio track (sans Gillece), a rendition of the Irving Berlin standard, “How Deep Is The Ocean.” Said Goldstein, “This came at the very end of the session. We had done everything that we had planned on doing, but then I was like, ‘Let’s just play it!’ And we kind of let loose on that one. That’s an arrangement that I play with Yahn. It’s his arrangement. It was just something a little extra, and it came out great.”


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