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Issue: February 1995
Todd Hildreth.

By Todd Hildreth

When a young Westport high school student named John Goldsby picked up the bass guitar some twenty years ago, few people would have guessed just how far he would take his new hobby. Now, after years of gigging and recording as a sideman, he' s releasing his first recording as a leader, Tale of the Fingers on Concord Records. Goldsby's covered a lot of ground since those high-school days.

He started, like most high-schoolers would, playing rock tunes he heard on the radio, but as he started listening to more rock bands he discovered fusion. He also hooked up with another Westport student at the time, a guitarist named Scott Henderson. The two hung out and jammed together frequently. Goldsby also met Jamey Aebersold at this time and the fusion he was listening to had now led him to straight-ahead jazz. Then he picked up acoustic bass and started gigging around town. He played frequently at the Jefferson Club and at On Broadway; both had jazz then. These gigs gave Goldsby the confidence and experience to prepare him for life as a jazz musician.

In 1980 Goldsby packed up and left for the Big Apple, where he gigged and played with local musicians as well as big-narne acts such as Lionel Hampton, George Benson and Wynton Marsalis. He also became an in-demand session man, recording with Scott Hamilton, Ken Peplowski and others. Now John has moved to Germany where he plays with the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Big Band, a state-sponsored radio band that, among other things, has projects lined up with artists such as Clarke Terry, Phil Woods and Anthony Braxton. Things are getting better all the time for John Goldsby and it's well deserved.

And the CD? Ten well-chosen pieces performed by a top-notch jazz quartet. Tunes range from compositions by Mingus and Ellington to originals by Goldsby and pianist Bill Mays to a solo bass rendition of the old pop tune, "Twilight Time." The group sound is strong and original and provides continuity to the CD's diverse repertoire. This CD can stand with the best of the Concord releases.

As Goldsby's career takes him farther and farther from his hometown, let him know that we're still thinking of him here. Pick up Tale of the Fingers at your favorite local jazz record outlet. It's well worth your time and money. If it's not stocked, you can order it, or write for a catalog at Concord Records, P.O. Box 845, Concord, CA 94522.

See you next time.

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