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RINGER OF THE WEEK****Brandon Goldberg: Let’s Play

It’s both inspiring and intimidating to hear about adolescent childhood jazz prodigies. I’ve seen Joey Alexander, Emily Bear and Eldar Djangarov before they learned how to drive, and was impressed by their techniques and style. Here is a guy barely past his Bar Mitzvah, and he’s got not only the chops, but an inspiring sense of restraint and style in both playing and composing on this album with all stars Ben Wolfe/b, Donald Edwards/dr and guest Marcus Strickland/ts.

Goldberg shows sophistication and wisdom in his approach to a hip read of “Well, You Needn’t” and is delicate on his solo spacing for “Blackbird.” His aria take of “In A Sentimental Mood” includes Ellingtonian quotes in a clever way, while still making it all  his own.  Wolfe brings in a sleek line  for both pianist and saxist during  “Dolphin Dance,” and Edwards’ assertiveness on “Caravan” gives no intimidation to the young lad. The team gets fun and funky when Strickland joins in for Goldberg’s own “You Mean Me” and his “McCoy” is a wondrous tribute to the  piano legend. Want to see this guy in concert!

— George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly