Saxophonist Jason Goldman
has just released his debut album, "The Definitive Standard
." Goldman is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He is currently on the faculty of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and the University of Southern California. In 2001, he won the IAJE/ASCAP emerging artist commission and composed "Catch Me If You Can" in honor of legendary pianist Dr. Billy Taylor. Pianist Jim McNeely says of Goldman, "Jason is one of the best young writers and bandleaders out there today."
Goldman's compositions are the centerpiece for his nine-piece ensemble, comprised of Jason's peers from the Los Angeles area music scene. The opening track, based on the changes to "There Will Never Be Another You", was arranged by Goldman, based on a composition by trumpeter Justin Ray. The band performs as a tight unit, featuring a number of good soloists, including Goldman on soprano and alto saxophone, pianist Danny Grissett (compared in the CD liner notes to Wynton Kelly), tenorist Walter Smith, trumpeters Ray and Rodriguez, and drummer Robert Perkins.
Goldman's writing is unmistakably contemporary and elevates the group to the performance level of a big band through creative use of harmony and multiple moving lines in his arrangements. This is ambitious music, and the band pulls it off exceptionally well, starting, stopping, twisting, and turning through the often-complex time, tempo, and harmonic changes that abound in these charts. Hats off to Jason Goldman and this impressive initial recorded effort. Keep your eye on this talented writer, player, and gifted teacher.