BEN GOLDBERG — Speech Communication (review)

BEN GOLDBERG — Speech Communication album cover Album · 2009 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
snobb
Same year when Goldberg released his electric avant-fusion Go Home, he recorded another quite different album - "Speech Communication". This time he returned to trio format (current band could be counted as re-freshed version of Goldberg's New Klezmer Trio from 90s).

Album is dedicated to two departed Goldberg's friends: Ron Stallings and his father Alvin Goldberg (later is the reason of album's name : "Speech Communication is the name of the academic discipline to which my father, Alvin Goldberg, devoted his intellectual and professional life").

Musically album is quite free form (even bulky in moments)collection of acoustic mostly clarinet-led compositions melting vintage avant-garde jazz tradition and klezemer (differently from Masada, klezmer component in album's music is quite abstract and placed deeply under the skin,you can feel it mostly in some melancholic tunes and clarinet techniques).

All album (differently from many Goldberg's other works) sound a bit sad, too serious and kind of unfocused. Brilliant clarinet solos here and there are more outer attributes, the music often isn't really melted and formed in one sound. During all album's listening I had a feeling that musicians are not in a good contact between each other, there are plenty of cool space and formal musicianship around. And even if there are plenty of short nice moments, album doesn't work as whole one (especially when comparing with excellent collaborative work on other Golberd releases of similar time period).

Still no way bad album, but more release for Goldberg fans. Not best entry album to his music for sure.

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