larry goldings: in my room
Although perhaps best known for his Hammond organ playing, Goldings has recently been gravitating toward his first love - the piano. It is, in fact, as a solo pianist that Goldings is featured on his new release, In My Room, out May 31 on BFM Jazz. Goldings chose three different pianos (including his Steinway) on which to record both original compositions and a selection of classic songs, from Stephen Foster's nineteenth century gem, "Beautiful Dreamer," to 1960s pop songs, such as the title track, by Brian Wilson.
Five other covers round out this group. Both "Beautiful Dreamer," and "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" were chosen, says Goldings, "for their perfect construction and unmistakable American-ness." "A Rose for Emily," is one of two songs on which Goldings employed some overdubbing, in an effort to recreate the original Zombies classic. "The Wedding" comes from South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, a huge influence on Goldings. Charles Strouse's "Maybe" is drawn from the hit musical Annie. Goldings calls the song "a poignant, wonderfully crafted piece of music that I've always wanted to explore." Matt Dennis' "Everything Happens to Me," the lone jazz standard on In My Room, is given a starkly beautiful treatment here by Goldings.
As for the originals, "Roach," a loping odd-metered blues, is dedicated to the renowned jazz drummer Max Roach and singer Abbey Lincoln; the cajun-flavored "Crawdaddy" serves as Goldings' tribute to New Orleans; "The Flower Song" plays out like a movie cue, in its succinct, lyrical simplicity; "Libre" is a dream-like improvisation with French impressionist undertones; and as for "All My Born Days," Goldings can't decide whether it's his "Irish drinking song, or a sentimental ballad heard in a Wild West saloon."
Tying it all together is a series of what Goldings calls "Interludes." "Shortly before the mastering date," he explained, "I remembered some 'prepared piano' pieces I had recorded at home, months earlier." (A 'prepared piano' is a piano in which the sound has been altered by the placement of objects inside the instrument). "With a portable digital recorder, I captured about twelve improvisations and decided at the last moment to pepper the record with my favorite four."