Stu Goldberg: Montreal




Stu Goldberg (piano)


Eye of the Beholder (MPS 15585)

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Stu Goldberg (piano),

Ken Goldberg (sax, flute, piccolo), Jim Lacefield (bass), Dave Crigger (drums), Lee Pastora (congas, bongos), Doug Cameron (1st violin, concertmaster), Clayton Haslop (2nd violin), Jimbo Ross (viola), Dan Ross (cello)


Composed by Stu Goldberg


Recorded: Hollywood, CA, August 1981


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

I often comment to any naysayer paying the least bit of attention that the greatest fusion musicians were great jazz players first. Every once in a while I enjoy tricking a jazz-rock skeptic. I will play a straight-ahead jazz piece from an unknown artist. I am then told how much the music was liked. Then I spring on my unsuspecting dupe the dope that it was John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke or Wayne Shorter et al. they were listening to. It is then easy to describe to them the progression from jazz to fusion. It works every time! I know I go to extremes to lure unsuspecting fans. But extremism in the pursuit of new jazz fans is no vice!

Those familiar with Stu Goldberg as only a fusion keyboard pioneer are in for a surprise if they ever hear the man play straight ahead jazz. He is among the best. He has plenty of CDs out that display this talent. His recent album Dark Clouds is an example of jazz and classical music integrated with Indian classical music. But even more jazz oriented were some of the albums he recorded for MPS back in the late '70s and early '80s. MPS has reissued the third of these on CD. Eye of the Beholder is mostly jazz with classical trappings. The music is the sonic opposite of what a Goldberg fan of his fusion period might expect.

"Montreal" is a reflective piece. For comparison's sake, those of you familiar with Lonnie Liston Smith's work during the same period will find an affinity with this music. Goldberg is generous with the melody, often giving his brother Ken the lead on flute. But they also play in unison, I suppose the way only brothers could. This tune is not one of Goldberg's strongest compositions, but the playing is at a very high level, providing clear evidence that Stu Goldberg possesses jazz chops up the yazoo.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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