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Marcus Goldhaber: The Moment After

Growing up in Buffalo, Marcus Goldhaber was blessed with a mother well-versed in the Great American Songbook and eager to pass along her musical appreciation. So, each evening young Marcus’ mom beckoned him to the family piano with her familiar catchphrase, “Here’s one you should know,” and taught him another Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Frank Loesser or Dorothy Fields gem.

A few decades have since passed, during which Goldhaber tried his hand as an off-Broadway actor and a soap star before committing himself to the music he was raised on. Now, on his debut disc, Goldhaber proves how good a student he was all those years ago. He is often likened to John Pizzarelli and Chet Baker, and both comparisons are valid. Though he lacks both Pizzarelli’s easy, natural sense of swing and the chilling beauty of Baker’s enveloping fogginess, Goldhaber rivals the jazz instincts of both, proving a solid saloon-style balladeer.

His retro playlist is thoughtfully appealing, effectively blending such durable standards as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now” and “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” with pop chestnuts like “Old Cape Cod” and “You’re Gonna Hear from Me.” His arrangements, co-crafted with pianist Jon Davis, may not be the most imaginative ever written, but all are ideally suited to his velvet tone and narrowly focused range. And, he has wisely surrounded himself with four sage players-Davis, bassist Paul Gabrielson and alternating drummers Kyle Struve and Will Terrill-who know how to bring out Goldhaber’s best without ever swamping his gentle sound.

Originally Published