Stu Goldberg: New Love
Stu Goldberg (piano)
Eye of the Beholder (MPS 15585)
Stu Goldberg (piano),
Jim Lacefield (bass), Dave Crigger (drums), Doug Cameron (1st violin and concertmaster), Clayton Haslop (2nd violin), Jimbo Ross (viola), Dan Ross (cello).
Composed by Stu Goldberg.
Recorded: Hollywood, CA, August 1981
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
After his 1970s high-profile stints with Mahavishnu, Alphonse Mouzon, The One Truth Band and others, keyboardist and synthesizer wizard Stu Goldberg began a several-year period of making his own acoustic jazz piano records released for the European market on the MPS label. Eye of the Beholder was the third of these recordings. Recently, as part of its CD reissue program, MPS has made the album available worldwide. This is a very good thing.
"New Love" is a million miles from the fiery electric fusion that fans of Goldberg's previous collaborations might expect. Nonetheless, it is fusion. "New Love" is a lovely modern jazz ballad made even more so by the inclusion of a string section, which provides a strong classical component. At one time this may have been called Third Stream. But that term was in use before jazz-rock came to be. Anyway, no category could do justice to the artistry of Goldberg's piano or arrangement. This piece is a composition in every sense. It could be played in a classical environment without improvisation. But improvisation is the key to all great jazz. Goldberg and bassist Dave Crigger make certain we know that axiom by doing plenty of it.
A strange phenomenon occurs during this performance. You could isolate some of the keyboard work and almost hear Smooth Jazz. (Quick, stomach pump!) But by adding the classical string quartet and progressive rhythm section, you get a fusion number that attends the same school district as some of Jan Hammer's pieces. Of course, the two keyboard players are quite different. But they lived in the same jazz-rock community. Stu Goldberg's "New Love" is representative of the oft-overlooked beautiful side of fusion. No wisecracks, please.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky