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Aaron Goldberg: Worlds

Aaron Goldberg

Worlds is a piano-trio date with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland. Vocalist Luciana Souza guests on one short track and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel visits on a long one.

Press notes that accompany advance copies of CDs are not known for their modesty. But the publicity sheet for Worlds shoots the moon, asserting, “With this recording, Goldberg, Rogers, and Harland stake their claim to being the next great trio in jazz.” It is a stunningly ambitious mission statement considering it accompanies a rather bland little album.

One of Goldberg’s purposes here is to demonstrate his eclectic “globalist perspective.” But simply including some pieces by Brazilian composers does not get that done. Goldberg’s versions of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Modinha” and “Inutil Paisagem” are like everything on this album: pleasant, polished, a little sweet and rather timid.

The absence of energy, let alone creative fire, is surprising. Even the fastest piece, “OAM’s Blues,” sounds calculated rather than passionate. The most interesting performance is the 11-minute penultimate tune, “Oud to Omer,” featuring Rosenwinkel’s complex counterpoint with Goldberg. The performance introduces, albeit quietly, something new to the album: intensity.

Originally Published