Recorded January 12 - 13, 2006 at the Blue Note, NY.
Gil Goldstein has always been an adventurous musician testing boundaries, but this may be his most eclectic release. With a group that includes elements of straight-ahead and contemporary jazz (saxophonist Chris Potter, trumpeter Michael Brecker, vibraphonist Mike Maineri and electric bassist Richard Bona), plus the Zebra Coast String Trio, the keyboardist looks to break down barriers. Opening with a dramatic setting of Robbie Robertson's "The Moon Struck One," the band segues into a decidedly contemporary setting of Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee," though Bona's plodding bassline proves to be a handicap. Several tracks composed by the late Jaco Pastorious prove a bit uneven; the boisterous treatment of "Liberty City" works well, while the reggae-flavored "Good Morning Anya" quickly grows tiresome. The leader switches to accordion for his subdued ballad "The Camel's Lament," played unaccompanied. While this project may not please every listener all the way through, its ambitious scope and the strong efforts of the musicians involved make it an ear-opening experience worth revisiting.
All Music Guide
Under Rousseau's Moon is Gil Goldstein's first album as a leader in 15 years. He's done a lot of arranging, orchestrating, producing and sideman gigs, but curiously he hadn't led his own session in all that time. This Jan. 2006 live recording at the Blue Note shows he's been storing away a lot of creativity since 1991.
What a group he assembled for this outing-percussionist Don Alias, electric bassist Richard Bona, trumpeter Randy Brecker, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, saxophonist Chris Potter, and the Zebra Coast String Trio. Goldstein, of course, is a gifted pianist and accordionist who will get that latter instrument accepted in jazz or die trying. The record is a tribute to Gil Evans and Jaco Pastorius (four of the tunes are his), and is dedicated to Alias, who died last March.
Goldstein's touch is felt immediately, first with the sweeping, orchestral overture of the Band's "The Moon Struck One" and then with a dynamite arrangement of Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee" that treats the bebop standby to an exotic rhythm and unusual instrumentation. The arranger in Goldstein shines again on a grooving, convention-defying medley of Evans' "Boplicity" and Brecker's "Some Skunk Funk." With mesmerizing solos, gorgeous ensemble interplay and ideas that weave seamlessly in and around one another, the album evokes a dreamlike state and feelings of nostalgia. Whether remaking a jazz classic or digging in with an elegant, French-cafe solo on the accordion, Goldstein aims for something fresh with each passing minute. Let's just hope he doesn't let another 15 years pass until his next album.
- Steve Greenlee (Jazztimes)