Larry Goldings: from frontman to sideman and back again
Goldings has balanced his career between playing his own music and being a keyboardist for the likes of James Taylor
With calls coming in from the LA A-list, a burgeoning sideline writing for films (he recently completed a score for comedian Jeff Garlin’s film Dealin’ with Idiots), and his ongoing commitment to Taylor’s peerless group, where the levels of musicianship are as high as in any jazz group, Goldings can be forgiven for being a little conflicted about his musical choices, and he is refreshingly candid about his struggles to establish his own identity.
But anyone who has checked out his performances in a jazz context is left in little doubt that here is a musician with something to say and a generosity and inclusiveness in his playing that only comes from a wide and eclectic musical appetite. Examples of this include Saudades (2006), his superb trio recording with Scofield and Jack DeJohnette, and In My Room (2011), his warmly intimate solo piano album.
Goldings is now in his mid-40s. His has been the life of a working musician, and he clearly relishes the challenge of mastering the range of styles that has been his bread and butter.
“Sometimes I think that I jump around too much stylistically, and I fear that there is not an identifiable Larry Goldings sound. But the eclectic thing is just something that I can’t help. It makes it fun that I can jump from a Maceo Parker tour to a Jim Hall record.”
Speaking of the trio, he adds: “But getting back with Peter and Bill every chance we get always feels like home, it just feels so familiar. I feel like we’ve carved out a language that is our own and a concept that is our own. We grew up together and we’re all the same age, and there’s something really special about that. So I think, you know, maybe our time is still to come.
“I’m kind of over the romance of being out on the road. I don’t want to be sitting on a tour bus when I’m 65.”
Goldings stops himself again. “I’m not sure. Maybe I will. I’ve said that so many times but I think musicians don’t ever want to stop playing, and that usually means, at some point, that you’re on a tour bus or in a van or on a plane. But you know what? Maybe I’m kidding myself when I say that because I can’t stop playing music. What else am I going to do?”