For over 20 years, pianist Aaron Goldberg has set himself apart as one of the most scintillating performers in jazz, in a longstanding trio with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland and in pivotal sideman stints with Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Wynton Marsalis, and others. His new album, At the Edge of the World (Sunnyside), marks the debut of a new trio with bassist Matt Penman and drummer/percussionist Leon Parker.
Returning to the jazz scene after years of obscurity in France—he left the U.S. on September 10, 2001—Parker makes his presence felt not just on drums but with vocal percussion and a system of self-contained music-making he calls EmbodiRhythm. These elements have opened a new dimension in Goldberg’s trio concept. Catching up with the pianist via phone from Toulouse, France, we spoke about the new album and reflected on the piano lineage and the process of finding one’s own voice. We also probed Goldberg’s multifaceted interests beyond music, as a student of philosophy and a political activist. The conversation has been edited for brevity.