Clarinetist / Composer Ben Goldberg grew up in Denver, Colorado. He received his undergraduate music degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master of Arts in Composition from Mills College. He was a pupil of the eminent clarinetist Rosario Mazzeo, and studied with Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano.
In addition to composing for and playing in the Ben Goldberg Quintet, he currently performs in the following groups: Tin Hat; plays monk, a trio with Scott Amendola and Devin Hoff; Myra Melford’s Be Bread; Nels Cline’s New Monastery; and Go Home, a new quartet with Charlie Hunter, Ron Miles, and Scott Amendola.
The 11- piece Ben Goldberg's Brainchild performs Ben's on-the-spot compositions. Ben’s group New Klezmer Trio kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music. (San Francisco Chronicle) Their CD Masks and Faces was listed as one of the ten best recordings of 1992 by Cadence magazine, which called it great free improvisation. The group made two more cds, Melt Zonk Rewire and Short for Something (all on Tzadik).
Ben's other recordings include the door, the hat, the chair, the fact (Cryptogramophone), a record of compositions dedicated to Steve Lacy; The Sad Machinery of Spring (Rykodisc) with Tin Hat; Plays Monk (Long Song) with Amendola and Hoff; Nels Cline’s New Monastery: a view into the music of Andrew Hill (Cryptogramophone); Light at the Crossroads (Songlines) with Marty Ehrlich; two records by Junk Genius (with John Schott, Trevor Dunn, and Wollesen): Junk Genius (Knitting Factory Works), an examination of bebop, and Ghost of Electricity (Songlines), dealing with American folk music; and What Comes Before (Tzadik), reflections on post-tonal harmonic structures with John Schott and Michael Sarin.