Thursday, July 25, 2013

Greg Goebel Rainy City Ninjazz 2013

Have you seen this man?
You will.

Greg Goebel plays with attitude and the prolific talent to back it up. Rainy City includes nine original compositions guaranteed to put the world of modern jazz piano on notice.
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

In the all to predictable arena that is modern jazz piano it is rare to hear such an original talent so firmly grounded yet artistically daring. There is a deceptively subtle rhythmic movement throughout Rainy City that marries tradition and innovation so incredibly well. Most piano ensembles of any size run the risk having the pianist as a somewhat pretentious leader accompanied by three after thoughts. Rainy City is a wondrous cohesion of harmonious thought, a perfect blend of a lyrical sense of purpose with colorful harmonics and a splash of contemporary sensibilities. Joining Goebel we find an A list lineup including Todd Strait on drums, Dave Captein on bass and the firebrand Rob Davis on tenor saxophone. The diversity in compositions as one begins to roll through the tracks are like pieces of a melodic jigsaw puzzle that contain a dynamic ebb and flow without venturing off into the pretentious abyss that so many young artists find themselves, never to be heard from again.

The one cover is the George & Ira Gershwin classic "It Ain't Necessarily So." The arrangement is spot on and fresh without mangling the main theme. Occasionally Goebel will venture off the harmonic path with some odd metered gems but the difference here is that Goebel apparently does not feel the need to pitch a tent to simply prove a point. 

Greg Goebel is one of about half a dozen pianists that are redefining the instrument, the literature and the useful purpose of the piano and doing it with the skills of a master. 

5 Stars!

Tracks: Around Gamla; The Road Home; 44 Hours; Rainy City; It Ain't Necessarily So; The Bucky Rug; Sleepyhead; Eastern Blue Ice; Lonely Hill; In The Red.

Street Date 08/20/13