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Andy Goodrich: Motherless Child

It is always gratifying to see unsung heroes persevere and finally get their turn at bat. Such is the case here with this semi-legendary Memphian, who has labored in the trenches of academia for nearly 50 years (mentor to Booker Little, Harold Mabern, Frank Strozier, Charles Lloyd, et al.) at levels from grade school to university. At long last Goodrich was afforded this opportunity, polished up his alto sax-though from the sounds of this disc either he was born to that ax or he has diligently kept the chops up-and hit the studio under the supervision of homeboy and dedicated Memphis flame keeper, pianist James Williams.

What results is an exposition of an alto player with the veteran’s sense of relaxed swing and droll wit. Goodrich has a sweetness to his sound that never overflows. That sweetness is realized on several tracks, notably his essay of “You Must Believe in Spring.” “Quasimodo” is not taken at Bird’s supersonic tempo, rather in a swell mid-tempo comfort zone. The thematic counterpoint between Goodrich and trumpet partner Eddie Henderson on the extended (13:40) “Stranger In Paradise” is another of the charms here. In addition to Williams and Mabern, who alternate the keyboard, Henderson, Buster Williams and Billy Hart are on board this fine disc.

Originally Published