Aaron Goldberg is one of the most exciting and innovative pianists playing jazz today. Though he is only 38 years old, he’s been playing piano for over three decades already. His technique is astounding, but what pushes him into the next level of musicianship is how he uses that technique to propel his inventive rhythmic and melodic concepts. Goldberg doesn’t play difficult things just to show off; he writes groundbreaking pieces that just happen to involve complex patterns and figures.
His last project as a leader of was 2010’s Home, which features this song, “Shed.” His trio is filled out with drummer Eric Harland and bassist Reuben Rogers here, who similarly have great technique on display in this piece. Listen to Rogers and Goldberg’s right hand state the melody during the head, while Goldberg’s left and Harland keep the 5/4 groove. Goldberg solos next, unaccompanied at first. I can’t help but marvel at how fluidly and cleanly he can play the bassline and spontaneously develop a tremendously interesting melody with phrases stretching far beyond the barlines at the same time. Another highlight comes at 3:05, when Goldberg begins a flurry of notes that doesn’t end until about 3:20, when he takes his solo into new rhythmically unpredictable territory. Harland takes a wonderful solo as well, handling 5/4 time even better than Joe Morello on “Take Five.”