Larry Goldings

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Larry Goldings
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Background information
Birth nameLawrence Sam Goldings
Born (1968-08-28) August 28, 1968 (age 54)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres Jazz, folk, pop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)Piano, organ
Labels Warner Bros., ECM, Verve, Palmetto

Lawrence Sam “Larry” Goldings (born August 28, 1968) is an American jazz keyboardist and composer. His music has explored elements of funk, blues, and fusion. Goldings has a comedic alter ego known as Hans Groiner. [1]


Life and career

Goldings was born in Boston. His father was a classical music enthusiast, and Goldings studied classical piano until the age of twelve. While in high school at Concord Academy, he attended a program at the Eastman School of Music. During this period Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Dave McKenna, Red Garland, and Bill Evans were influences. As a young teenager, Goldings studied privately with Ran Blake and Keith Jarrett.

Goldings moved to New York City in 1986 to attend a newly formed jazz program under the leadership of Arnie Lawrence at The New School. During college he studied piano with Jaki Byard and Fred Hersch. While still a freshman Roland Hanna invited Goldings to accompany him to a three-day private jazz party in Copenhagen. While there Goldings met jazz legends Sarah Vaughan, Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, and Hank Jones; and he also played piano in a band with Vaughan, Harry "Sweets" Edison, and Al Cohn. While still a college student, he embarked on a worldwide tour with Jon Hendricks and worked with him for a year. A collaboration lasting almost three years with jazz guitarist Jim Hall followed. [2]

In 1988, Goldings began his development as an organist during a regular gig at a piano-less bar called Augie's Jazz Bar (now Smoke) on New York's Upper West Side. He was featured with several bands, and his own trio with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart got its start there. His first release was Intimacy of the Blues in 1991.

Over the course of his career, his distinctive keyboard sound has been sought out by pop, jazz, R&B, Brazilian, and alternative artists including De La Soul, India.Arie, Tracy Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Michael McDonald, Beck, Walter Becker, Steve Gadd, Leon Russell, Rickie Lee Jones, Sia, John Mayer, Herbie Hancock, and Norah Jones.

Record producers he has worked with include Russ Titelman, Larry Klein, Steve Jordan, Tommy LiPuma, Dave Grusin, Joe Henry, Blake Mills, Mike Viola, and T Bone Burnett. One of Goldings' first collaborations with Larry Klein includes the Madeleine Peyroux recording of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" with Goldings on Wurlitzer piano, pump organ, Hammond B3 organ, celeste, and piano solo.

He has collaborated with musicians such as Maceo Parker, John Scofield, Carla Bley, Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny, John Pizzarelli, Jack DeJohnette, Anthony Wilson and Jim Keltner, Mike Viola, and Charlie Haden in genres including jazz, Brazilian, and funk. He performs pop music as a pianist (since 2001) for singer-songwriter James Taylor.

Goldings is known for his gifts as a bass player on the Hammond organ, integral to his collaboration with Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny on Time is of the Essence and evident in the Pat Metheny composition "Extradition" during their 1999–2000 world tour. James Taylor's One Man Band 2007 live album and world tour draws heavily on Goldings' bass playing abilities, making the one man band concept possible. The album and tour also include Goldings' composition "School Song." Larry Goldings' Hammond organ is heard on John Mayer's song "Gravity," on the Grammy award-winning album, Continuum.

In 2007, Larry Goldings, Jack DeJohnette and John Scofield received a Grammy Award nomination in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Album Individual or Group for their live album, Trio Beyond - Saudades . In 2017, Goldings with the Steve Gadd Band received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Way Back Home .

In 2012 and 2013, Goldings was chosen to participate in both the Sundance Institute Documentary Film and Sundance Feature Film Composer Fellowship Programs. At the Documentary Film Lab in Sundance, Utah, Goldings scored scenes from filmmaker Johanna Hamilton's "1971." Goldings continued to work with the Sundance Institute in 2013, at the feature film lab held for the first time at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. There he collaborated with filmmaker Pamela Romanowsky, scoring scenes from her film The Adderall Diaries. Goldings' advisors in that program included noted film composers Mark Isham, Heitor Pereira, Harry Gregson-Williams, and Thomas Newman.

Style and influences

Goldings' melodic style of organ playing has often been compared to that of Larry Young. On organ Goldings cites as his first inspirations the solo piano style of Dave McKenna "who walks his own bass lines better than anyone" and Billy Preston accompanying Aretha Franklin on "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Other musical influences cited by Goldings include the Wes Montgomery records which feature Mel Rhyne and Jimmy Smith; Shirley Scott; Chester Thompson; Joe Zawinul; and Jack McDuff. Goldings' 1990s collaborations with Maceo Parker provided an authentic understanding of the language of funk music, and the voicings and rhythmic comping on the Hammond B3 organ as passed down by James Brown to Parker.

Awards and honors


As leader/co-leader

Year recordedTitleLabelPersonnel
1991Intimacy of the Blues Verve Most tracks trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums); three tracks quartet, with David "Fathead" Newman (tenor sax) added
1992Light BlueMinor MusicTrio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
1993Caminhos Cruzados Novus/RCAWith Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums), Guilherme Franco (percussion); Joshua Redman (tenor sax) added on three tracks
1995Whatever It Takes Warner Bros. With Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums); plus guests Fred Wesley (trombone), Joshua Redman (tenor sax), David Sanborn and Maceo Parker (alto sax), Richard Patterson (bass)
1996Big Stuff Warner Bros. With Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums), Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Idris Muhammad (drums), Bashiri Johnson (percussion), Guilherme Franco (percussion), John McKenna (tenor saxophone)
1997Awareness Warner Bros. With Larry Grenadier (bass), Paul Motian (drums)
1999Moonbird Palmetto Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2000Voodoo Dogs Palmetto With Bob Ward (guitarist)
2001As One Palmetto Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2002Sweet SciencePalmettoTrio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2003Hollywood AlbumLucomoWith Darek "Oleś" Oleszkiewicz (double bass); Adam Czerwiński (drums)

(re-issued in 2019 on vinyl by AC Records as "Hollywood Trio")

2004 Saudades ECM As Trio Beyond; trio, with John Scofield (guitar), Jack DeJohnette (drums); in concert
2006QuartetPalmettoMost tracks quartet, with John Sneider (cornet, trumpet), Ben Allison (bass), Matt Wilson (drums); one track quintet, with Madeleine Peyroux (vocals) added
2007Long Story ShortSticky Mack RecordsWith Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2009The Carriage House SessionsSweet SongDuo with Peter Salett (vocals)
2010When Larry Met HarryCafé SocietyQuartet, with Harry Allen (tenor sax), Doug Weiss and Neil Miner (bass; separately), Andy Watson (drums) [3]
2011In My RoomBFM JazzSolo piano
2011Live At SmallsSmallsliveTrio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums) [4]
2014Music from the Front RoomSticky Mack RecordsTrio, with David Piltch (bass), Jay Bellerose (drums) [5]
2014Ramshackle SerenadePirouetTrio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums) [6]
2018Radio Music Vol.1IndependentAll music written and performed by Goldings
2018Toy TunesPirouetTrio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums) [7]
2018Scary Goldings Scary Pockets With Scary Pockets [8]
2019Scary Goldings: The Ego TrapScary PocketsWith Scary Pockets [9]
2020Tie Me To YouMonsoon RecordsWith Kathleen Grace
2020Scary Goldings: Feel.Scary PocketsWith Scary Pockets [10]
2021EarthshineColorfield RecordsAll music written and performed by Goldings

Main sources: [11] [12]

As sideman

With Peter Bernstein

With Till Brönner

With Chris Minh Doky

With Sia

With Robben Ford

With Steve Gadd

With Melody Gardot

With Jesse Harris

With Jim Hall

With Colin Hay

With Adam Levy

With John Mayer

With Jessica Molaskey

With James Moody

With Maceo Parker

With Rebecca Pidgeon

With Madeleine Peyroux

With John Pizzarelli

With Tim Ries

With Lee Ritenour

With John Scofield

With Mark Sholtez

With Bill Stewart

With Curtis Stigers

With Dave Stryker

With James Taylor

With Matt Wilson

With Lazlo Bane

With others

Film and TV credits

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  1. JARENWATTANANON, PATRICK (20 February 2012). "The Man Who Makes Monk Better". NPR Jazz. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  2. Yanow, Scott. "Larry Goldings: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  3. Simmons, Greg (January 30, 2011). "Larry Goldings and Harry Allen: When Larry Met Harry". AllAboutJazz. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  4. "Live at Smalls - P. Bernstein, Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, B. Stewart, Bill Stewart | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic .
  6. "Ramshackle Serenade - Peter Bernstein, Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic .
  7. "Toy Tunes - Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic .
  8. "Scary Goldings, by Scary Goldings".
  9. "The Ego Trap, by Scary Goldings".
  10. "Feel., by Scary Goldings".
  11. Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1996). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (3rd ed.). Penguin. p. 508. ISBN   978-0-14-051368-4.
  12. Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. pp. 564–565. ISBN   978-0-141-03401-0.