The Visit

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

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