Born: November 5, 1945 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Harrison Goldberg's departure from mainstream jazz began in 1992 with formation of the performance art collaborative Tabula Rasa. This four piece ensemble undertook an intentional regimen of mental and musical exercises designed to reach beyond the players' musical programming as jazz musicians, and augment it with the pure ability to create - by inspiration as it were - through attentive, intuitive listening. (See Intuitive Music )
The earliest experiments were hesitant and clunky, as the musicians struggled to escape their usual and familiar chordal and rhythmic jazz frameworks and patterns of playing, while attempting to create something unknown, something truly fresh. As they continued to work this process week by week, new, natural patterns began to emerge and assert themselves. For example, the players found that they would consistently create musical pieces that had apparent structure. Thirty-five to forty minute musical pieces would materialize that had three or more clearly defined movements, each with an easily discernable beginning, middle, and end.
As the process of refined listening continued, a continual stream of new musical information began to flow through and inform these flexible movements, seemingly regulating itself in some unknown manner, so that the players would each fully exercise their creative contributions, and yet all somehow end up in the same musical place consistently. Previous constraints such as time signature and key signature became essentially irrelevant, as the musicians began to play in unusual, mixed keys and rhythms. Pure, coordinated inspiration became the new glue holding the pieces together. It was always apparent when a particular piece was complete, and the players would reach a natural ending together and simply stop playing, at once.
Although Goldberg now works with many contemporary improvisational artists, the fruit of these years of musical experiment and growth are best represented in Neon Egypt, a continuing collaboration between Goldberg and Tabula Rasa multi-percussionist Steven Miller. Their modern music is fully and spontaneously improvised, and recorded live without overdubs or retakes.
Goldberg is an alumnus of Boston's Berklee College of Music, and a member of the International Association for Jazz Education. His musical epic story And Music Was King is currently being scripted for theater performance.
Besides his music activities, 'Harrison', as he is popularly known, is recognized in northern California as an award winning visual artist and wine label designer, and is presently assembling a book of his artwork and poetry for publication.
Instruments: Yamaha soprano sax, Selmer MKVI tenor sax, and Conn classic silver alto sax
Tabula Rasa - Tabula Rasa (Phenomaly Records) 1995
Legend - Legend (Phenomaly Records) 1996
Motif - Goldberg/Foote (Foote Audio) 1998
Weather - Goldberg/Foote (Foote Audio) 1998
Tales Of Kings - Neon Egypt (Phenomaly Records) 2000
Hot Neon - Neon Egypt (Phenomaly Records) 2000
Cool Neon - Neon Egypt (Phenomaly Records) 2000
A New Kind Of Understanding - Inner Rhythm (Inner Rhythm Music) 2002
An Accident Of Chance - Goldberg/Kaplan (Big Wave Records) 2004