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Ben Goldberg: Unfold Ordinary Mind

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Among jazz’s new breed of clarinetists, Don Byron may be the most celebrated stylistic traveler. But over an equally long stretch, Bay Area virtuoso Ben Goldberg has brought his own vision to a daunting range of settings. Having led the pioneering New Klezmer Trio and transformed bebop and folk in Junk Genius, he has more recently made stellar recordings with his Plays Monk trio and the groove-minded Go Home quartet with Charlie Hunter. He has interpreted the poems of e.e. cummings with Tin Hat and dedicated one of his working groups to pop songs by the late Elliott Smith.

Goldberg’s two new albums, released simultaneously on his BAG Production label, reveal yet more sides of his artistic personality. On Unfold Ordinary Mind, he pulls off a neat trick in assuming the role of bassist on contra-alto clarinet, in a sometimes explosive quintet with guitarist Nels Cline and twin tenors Ellery Eskelin and Rob Sudduth. On Subatomic Particle Homesick Blues, recorded in 2008, he partakes in chamber-style jazz with tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman and trumpeter Ron Miles.

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