Pianist Brandon Goldberg may not have the seasoned years behind him yet, (In Good Time finds him brewing with ideas most fifteen-year-olds never tackle) but it is no more a beloved veteran than the late Ralph Peterson who, via a wisely archived voice mail, urges the young man “What’s up Brandon, gimme a shout man we hook up later this week!” The drummer and cat supreme then wishes him “Peace” and a split second later the barnstorming, deftly pugilistic “Authority” kicks off Goldberg’s emergent sophomore release.
It is a no-nonsense, full-on opener which finds Peterson and Goldberg squaring off and bolstering the springy unison lines of trumpeter Josh Evans and saxophonist Stacy Dillard before they too sail off headlong into solo land. The seemingly ever-present bass of Luques Curtis—whose balancing tones can be heard on such fine recent releases as Lisa Hilton‘s Transparent Sky (Ruby Slippers Productions, 2021) and Peterson’s affirmative, final recording as a leader, Raise Up Off Me (Onyx Productions, 2021)—holds the fort and In Good Time moves blithely on from there.
Though definitely in a quintet state of mind, “Circles” becomes a stately, sepia-tinted meditation between Goldberg (whose ear for lyrical accompaniment again surpasses his age) and Dillard’s fluid logistics. Peterson’s controlled shadings and Evans’ poignant announcement nearly steal “Time” but, vets that they are, the two give way to Goldberg’s intuitive comping, before Evans (echoing his mentor Jackie McLean) blows the tune to its conclusion. The ensemble then vigorously take on Wayne Shorter‘s languid “Nefertiti” and jump particularly high on, what else, Thelonious Monk‘s heightened “Monk’s Dream.”
A perhaps too somber “Send In the Clowns” (with guest trumpeter Antoine Drye) closes the record, but it is the preceding two of Goldberg’s five originals, the tempo crazy “El Procrastinador” and the snappy, spirited hijinks of “Ninety-Six” that continue Goldberg’s evolution. Filled and fired by the pianist’s wizened yet youthful enthusiasm, Dillard, Curtis, and Evans run the bop gamut on “Ninety-Six” while Peterson holds “El Procrastinator” to its 7/4 course, but burns the map along the way. That is how you teach the next generation.