The Innkeeper’s Gun

“If you want to hear some warm, exciting bass playing, dig John Goldsby.” Marc Myers, JazzWax.com.

“. . . gleefully evokes those old dim clubs of the Mad Men years, when respectable folks were still wary of that whole jazz thing.” Louisville Metromix Magazine

“A grand album, The Innkeeper’s Gun caters to the ECM way of jazz with a bit of a more modern approach, with hints of funk and hip-hop in a very subtle manner.” John Book, Book’s Music.

“The quality of the playing is matched by the finely tuned recording technique that makes this CD a treasure.” Grady Harp, Amazon Top 10 Reviewer.

The Innkeeper’s Gun is an exciting, involving post-bop album . . . the boppish, swinging rhythms—and that version of “Paparazzi”—make it a definite winner.”
Phil Freeman, Burning Ambulance, Journal of Arts and Culture Blog

“Goldsby gets some incredible sounds and “images” from his bass: guitar-like upper registers, plaintive bowing, and furtive plucking. — frankly, I don’t know how he does it.”
Eric Sedensky, Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer

CD Concept: “We’re carrying on the tradition of Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, while expanding the trio style and adding our own voices to the music,” says bassist John Goldsby. The Innkeepers Gun captures Goldsby, drummer Jason Tiemann and alto saxophonist Jacob Duncan in the middle of their 2009 European tour, and features jazz originals by Goldsby and Duncan, plus a cover of the hit pop tune “Paparazzi” from Lady Gaga.

Goldsby, an American expatriate, has found better jazz opportunities since leaving New York and moving to Germany in 1994. He provides the bass foundation for many high profile recordings, including the recent releases Bombella (Abdullah Ibrahim), Symphonica (Joe Lovano), Roots & Grooves (Maceo Parker), and the Grammy Award winning Avant Gershwin (Patti Austin), in addition to the 2008 recording from Goldsby, Duncan, and Tiemann, Live at the Nachbar, The Visit (with pianist Bill Dobbins) and Goldsby’s recent Space for the Bass (both Bass Lion).

Track Listing:

  • Jim Henson 7:11 (Duncan)
  • Ligeti Split 6:03 (Duncan)
  • Paparazzi 7:45 (Lady Gaga)
  • More Than Something 5:13 (Goldsby)
  • The Innkeeper’s Gun 8:05 (Duncan)
  • Never Come Back To Me 6:08 (Goldsby)
  • Neda 8:38 (Duncan)
  • Juan in the Basement 5:46 (Goldsby)

Jim Henson

Produced by: Robin Meloy Goldsby for Bass Lion.
Musicians: John Goldsby (Double Bass), Jacob Duncan (Alto Saxophone), Jason Tiemann (Drums).
Recorded November 12, 2009 at Topaz Studios, Cologne, Germany.
Key markets: Louisville, New York, Cologne, Germany.

Release Date: June 1, 2010
Artist: John Goldsby
Title:  The Innkeeper’s Gun
Label: Bass Lion
Catalog Number: BLM008
UPC Code: 885444303951

The Visit

John Goldsby & Bill Dobbins

The duo setting in jazz frames the essence of the music—improvisation, interplay, adaptability and fantasy. Two musicians traveling the roads between accompaniment and solo, lyricism and harmony need to assert their musical will, but be completely flexible—sometimes changing course in a heartbeat. Bassist John Goldsby and pianist Bill Dobbins join together on The Visit to transmit this feeling of jazz to the listener—revealing the beauty of a song, the blues, and the underlying moment of conception.

A few words from John Goldsby and Bill Dobbins:
Bill Dobbins and I have worked together with the WDR Big Band and in various small group projects, but this was our first opportunity to perform and record in a duo setting.

As a pianist, Bill captures the true goal of the jazz musician—to spontaneously compose and address the musical instant in a way that is unique, yet accessible. He is one of the foremost contemporary jazz composers, a player with a foot in the past and an ear to the future. He sets a high compositional standard in this program with Elegy and Darling Daralene, both deep musical statements. We selected music for this project by searching for songs that offer a harmonic and rhythmic playground for improvisation and dialogue.

Blue Rose by Duke Ellington, Absinthe and Star-Crossed Lovers by Billy Strayhorn are three rare masterworks from the golden era of jazz songwriting. Kurt Weill’s This Is New, from the musical “Lady in the Dark” falls into the category of show tune classic. Paul Chambers’s Visitation and Bennie Harris’s Reets and I share the chord progression to the standard All God’s Children Got Rhythm. Barry Harris’s Nascimento is one of the rare “beboppish Latin” tunes. My compositional contribution to our set is R & R, a tune with two contrasting sections that reflect a couple of former colleagues from the WDR Big Band: Rolf Roemer and Rick Kiefer. The set closes with a blues that is meaningful to both of us. Bill composed Red’s Blues in honor of the late, great Red Mitchell, who was my friend, musical mentor and bass hero.

The first time I heard Bill play was with Red Mitchell at Bradley’s in New York in the late ‘80s. Bill and Red had a special thing, and I knew even then that I wanted to play in duo with Bill. I could tell that we share a lot of the same tastes in music—as he puts it, we grew up “listening to the same records.”

I hope you enjoy your listening experience with our music as much as we enjoyed recording this for you.
John Goldsby
Cologne, Germany
***
As principal conductor of the WDR Big Band, Cologne, from 1994 through 2002, I had the pleasure of working and performing with John Goldsby on a regular basis.  I immediately recognized his thorough understanding of the jazz bass tradition in big band and small group contexts, from Pops Foster, Walter Page, Jimmy Blanton and Ray Brown to Charles Mingus, Israel Crosby, Red Mitchell, Paul Chambers and Scott LaFaro, to mention only a handful of the greatest influences on the music.  John has a swinging, melodic and spontaneously creative voice on the bass that reflects the beauty of this rich heritage, while remaining unique and personal.

This is our first recording as a duo, and the whole experience was a sheer delight, from our brief rehearsals through the concert at Cologne’s Pfandhaus to the thoroughly relaxed and enjoyable session at Topaz Audio Studios.  The repertoire, apart from a few originals, includes lesser-known gems from the masters of jazz and the American songbook, with an emphasis on the contributions of pianists and bassists.  Playing this music with John was a musical highlight for me, and I’m happy that we can share these performances with you, the listener.  Enjoy!
Bill Dobbins
Rochester, New York

Live at the Nachbar

Jacob Duncan, John Goldsby and Jason Tiemann Trio

In the late 1800’s, a tide of German immigrants flooded the bustling city of Louisville, Kentucky. The Germans, mostly skilled laborers—carpenters, blacksmiths and tradesmen—went in search of new opportunities. Families with names like Goss, Kunz, Gnaedinger and Metz settled in an area not far from the Ohio river that came to be known as “Germantown.” This cultural influence is still evident with restaurant names like the Gasthaus, Huelsman’s and a friendly neighborhood meeting place and jazz club called The Nachbar.

Jump to February 27, 2008: Bassist John Goldsby, a Louisville native who currently resides in Germany, returns to Louisville’s Germantown to team up with local powerhouse jazz musicians Jacob Duncan (alto) and Jason Tiemann (drums). The performance is captured on the new CD release: Live at the Nachbar [Bass Lion].
The gourmet set of modern jazz sounds includes two Goldsby originals: “Poli Wonk” and “Every Other.” In this U.S. election year, Poli Wonk is Goldsby’s musical plea to political talking heads (the Poli Wonks themselves) to calm down, focus on the issues, and feel the funk. “Every Other” is an Ornette-ish take on a popular jazz standard. Can you hear it?

Duncan also contributes a pair of contrasting originals: “It’s Alright to Dream,” a pop hit without words (yet) and “Nached Up,” a jam-band slammer that teeters between odd-meter gymnastics and free funk á la Miles. The term “nached up” might also refer to one’s state of mind after a long night enjoying the Nachbar and it’s worldly delights.
Other gems found in this live portrait include seldom-heard standards such as: “U.M.M.G.” (Upper Manhattan Medical Group) and “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing” by Billy Strayhorn, a definitive rendering of Thelonius Monk’s “Mysterioso,” and the haunting re-working of Randy Newman’s “In Germany Before the War.”

Goldsby moved to Cologne, Germany in 1994 after a long stint in New York City. Best known for his work on the New York jazz scene, he got his start in jazz clubs in Louisville, playing with local legends like Helen Humes, Jimmy Raney and Jamey Aebersold. After moving to New York he worked with many jazz legends, including Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and George Benson. Goldsby currently holds the bass chair with the Grammy award-winning WDR Big Band in Cologne.
Goldsby’s chemistry with alto saxophonist Jacob Duncan and drummer Jason Tiemann developed while playing live concerts in the past year at The Nachbar. “I think these guys are fantastic—I love making groovy, cutting-edge music with them,” Goldsby says.

Jacob Duncan balances a spiritual, intuitive inclination with a keen, educated mind; his ensemble playing confident and solid, his soloing full of risks and rewards. Duncan is well-known as the founder of the Liberation Prophecy, and also for his sideman work with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, and the Violent Femmes.

Jason Tiemann also plays with the Liberation Prophecy, in addition to being a constantly in-demand sideman for artists like Ben Monder, Jean Michel Pilc, Joanne Brackeen and Bob Minzter. Tiemann is a musician’s drummer—listening, checking, pushing and supporting while he plays—using his rare instincts to make the music happen.

The Nachbar, (the German word for “neighbor”), regularly features live jazz, and has become an insider’s tip in the mid-west, known for unpretentious, yet state-of-the-art improvised music. Live at the Nachbar with Jacob Duncan, John Goldsby, and Jason Tiemann remains in the “Best Live Jazz Albums of 2008” category.

Track Listing:

  1. Every Other (John Goldsby)
  2. In Germany Before the War (Randy Newman)
  3. Nached Up (Jacob Duncan)
  4. A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing (Billy Strayhorn)
  5. Poli Wonk (John Goldsby)
  6. Misterioso (Thelonious Monk)
  7. Upper Manhattan Medical Group (Billy Strayhorn)
  8. It’s Alright To Dream (Jacob Duncan)

CD Release Name: Live at the Nachbar
Artist Names:
Jacob Duncan, John Goldsby, Jason Tiemann
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Label/Imprint:
Bass Lion, physical, The Orchard, digital
EAN/UPC Code: 0094922935106
Label Catalog: Bass Lion BLM004
LC Nummer: LC 18334
Genre: Jazz, Live Jazz
Digital distribution by: www.theorchard.com
Physical distribution and licensing by Bass Lion: www.basslionpublishing.com

Misterioso
Misterioso

 

Space for the Bass

Space for the Bass explores the versatility and potential of the most grounded instrument in jazz—the acoustic bass—in the open musical environment of duo, trio and quartet performances. This program features old and new friends, who are among the top players on the jazz scene today. Hans Dekker is a thoughtful drummer, a musician’s drummer, with an approach full of musical surprises and delights. Martin also ranks as an up-and-coming talent on the European jazz scene—a pianist comfortable in the mainstream and beyond. Space for the Bass offers a wealth of talent on the alto saxophone—the amazing Francesco Cafiso, nineteen years old when he recorded this project—and Karolina Strassmayer, a player with guts and passion, who often places in the top five of Downbeat critics polls.

It’s noteworthy that each musician hails from a different country—the United States, Austria, Italy, Germany, and Holland being represented. Space for the Bass proves that listening, the way these musicians listen when they play, is an international art in the same way that music is the international language.

I penned four originals for this project. The compositions from With “Blue Dahlia,” I want to recall the works of Ellington and Mingus by using a simple diatonic theme, harmonized with typical Mingus-type chords. Flat-nines and sharp-fives abound. Karolina’s sound is mesmerizing and she captures the mood of the song from the first note to her last cadenza.

“Pumpkins Delight” by Charlie Rouse is a 24-bar minor blues with a deep bass-line hook, The simultaneous feeling of fast and slow tempos gives this tune its charm. Originally recorded on the 1962 Impulse! album, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, “Angelica” is one of Duke’s happy melodic romps. In our version no individual soloist steps too far into the foreground. I duet with Martin, Martin with Karo, and Karo with Hans . . . it’s a collective thing.

During the fifteen years that I lived in New York, there were a myriad of piano-bass duo gigs, and everyone seemed to play “Alone Together.”  The piece lends itself to quiet interplay—a classic which Martin and I offer in a compact, focused style.

Francesco joins us for the Charlie Parker standard “Moose the Mooche,” adding his technically advanced take on Bird’s concept. “Forgotten But Not” refers to the distant memories that pop up now and then—sometimes bothersome, sometimes funny, always presenting themselves as clear visions of a time long past.

Many things can happen in eighteen years—a child can grow up, a life can change and develop, and a marriage can take root, grow, blossom and bear fruit. “Eighteen Years” reflects this long period of development, and it’s a long piece—over nine minutes. But, as Red Mitchell often told me, “Ballads need to be longer, because they are slower.” Eighteen years is how long I have been married to my lovely wife, Robin.

“You Stepped Out of a Dream” belongs to my favorite standards songbook. I first learned and played the tune with Jimmy Raney, the legendary guitarist, who lived in Louisville in the ‘70s. Hans and I step through the form, sometimes playing the melody, but more often just playing what feels right.

“Redpost” is fast, and I even wrote it quickly. It flowed out as I was sitting at the piano thinking about an up-tempo closer for this collection of music. “Redpost,” which pays tribute to the Marvin Redpost character in the kids’ books by Louis Sachar, allows the quartet to stretch and blow. The A sections are similar to “Impressions,” and the bridge is only 4-bars, with slightly pushy rhythm-section hits. After Martin’s energetic choruses and Karolina’s burning statement, Hans plays a beautiful solo to close things out.

Thanks for listening . . . Enjoy!

John Goldsby

Cologne, Germany June 2009

Pumpkins Delight
Pumpkins Delight