Larry Goldings is considered by many to be one of today's premiere jazz organists, pianists and composers. He possesses both a respect for tradition and an insatiable desire for exploration that puts him in a class by himself. Larry's playing is at once lyrical, soulful, and sophisticated. His musical language, while accented by the blues, also is influenced by his deep understanding of harmony, his love for American popular song and contemporary classical music, and his unique compositional instincts.
Experiences such as these quickly put Larry, in the words of Pat Metheny, "into that elite and small group of 'great piano players.'"
Born and raised in the Boston area, Larry started playing the piano by ear at the age of nine. By the age of twelve, he had developed a love for jazz and sought out private instruction. His formative instructors included Peter Casino, the avant-garde Ran Blake, and world-renowned pianist, Keith Jarrett. In 1986, Larry left his Boston home to enroll in an innovative pilot jazz program at the New School for Social Research in New York City. It was there he began his professional career, being asked to tour and record with jazz singing legend, Jon Hendricks. Among his other teachers at the school were pianists Sir Roland Hanna, Jaki Byard, Fred Hersch, and guitarist Jim Hall, who, impressed with Larry's piano playing, asked him to join his band. He did, for a collaboration lasting almost three years. Experiences such as these quickly put Larry, in the words of Pat Metheny, "into that elite and small group of 'great piano players.'"
In 1988, Larry happened upon a regular gig at a pianoless bar called Augie's on New York's Upper West Side. This became Larry's training ground as an organist where he was featured with several bands, including those of drummer Leon Parker and saxophonist Jesse Davis. Most important, Larry's own trio with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart got its auspicious start there, and the three musicians have since developed a musical rapport rarely seen in jazz groups today.
After college, Larry began exploring another of his passions - funk music - with Maceo Parker, one of the most influential figures in the history of funk. Worldwide exposure with Maceo brought Larry a record deal and the start of a solo career with a 1991 release for Verve Records called The Intimacy of the Blues. While riding the wave of an organ resurgence, Larry quickly made a name for himself as one of the most original and versatile organists on the scene. Guitarist John Scofield recognized this, and in 1993 hired Larry to play in what became one of Scofield's most highly acclaimed bands.
Under his own name, Larry has made nine critically acclaimed recordings. As a sideman he is on more than 40 CDs with such artists as John Scofield, Jim Hall, Maceo Parker, Michael Brecker, and most recently, singer James Taylor, on whose latest CD, October Road, Larry can be heard playing piano.
Larry's latest recording, Sweet Science, is his fourth CD for the adventurous independent label, Palmetto, and features Larry's stellar band of Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart. Sweet Science stretches the boundaries of the organ trio format, and is the group's most satisfying and experimental record to date. The tracks range from a fresh look at a Burt Bacharach classic, to free-form group improvisations.
This year, look for Larry on the road with James Taylor as well as his own organ trio. Larry is also writing music for film and television, an area he hopes to concentrate on more in the coming years.