Aaron Goldberg is one of my favorite jazz pianists. He’s also an old friend from high school. Reconnecting with and talking to him about his career and artistic process has been one of the most personally inspiring interviews I’ve done to date. And here’s the thing about Aaron: He’s a force unto himself. While at Harvard, he jammed at the Berklee College of Music until the small hours of the night. And while touring the world with leaders like Joshua Redman or Kurt Rosenwinkle, Aaron completed a Masters of Philosophy under Daniel Dennett. In other words, Aaron is a true polymath.
If you’ve taken my Mindfulness Module, you’ve experienced an exercise where I play a piece performed by Aaron’s trio, and we discussed how the layers of jazz are similar to the layers of the meditative process: Body (as the rhythm), breath (as the bass), thoughts (as the piano). And people invariably comment, “Who’s that musician? I love it, and I didn’t think I even liked jazz.”
And that’s the other thing about Aaron’s music: for me, it transcends genre. When I listen, I’m not conscious of it as jazz. I’m drawn in and carried by Aaron’s love of good melody and infectious rhythmic drive. And you can hear all of that that in the song, “Lambada de Serpente,” that Aaron shared with me for my podcast, Everyday Sublime.
I hope you enjoy listening to the interview!
- Learning the tonal language of jazz
- How Aaron turned jazz into a career
- Why human connection makes jazz work
- The connection between improvisational jazz and Buddhism
- Are music listeners’ attention spans shrinking?
- Aaron’s advice for new jazz listeners: Start with Miles
I offer some more reflections on Aaron’s work in an episode of my podcast. I hope you enjoy it, and I invite you to subscribe here.
And if you’re interested in checking out more of Aaron’s music, here are my favorite albums of his:
Lastly, here’s Aaron’s website: aarongoldberg.com