Larry Goldings

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Larry Goldings
Lgoldings1 web.jpg
Background information
Birth nameLawrence Sam Goldings
Born (1968-08-28) August 28, 1968 (age 54)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
GenresJazz, folk, pop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)Piano, organ
LabelsWarner Bros., ECM, Verve, Palmetto

Lawrence Sam “Larry” Goldings (born August 28, 1968) is an American jazz keyboardist and composer. His music has explored elements of funk, blues, and fusion. Goldings has a comedic alter ego known as Hans Groiner.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Goldings was born in Boston. His father was a classical music enthusiast, and Goldings studied classical piano until the age of twelve. While in high school at Concord Academy, he attended a program at the Eastman School of Music. During this period Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Dave McKenna, Red Garland, and Bill Evans were influences. As a young teenager, Goldings studied privately with Ran Blake and Keith Jarrett.

Goldings moved to New York City in 1986 to attend a newly formed jazz program under the leadership of Arnie Lawrence at The New School. During college he studied piano with Jaki Byard and Fred Hersch. While still a freshman Roland Hanna invited Goldings to accompany him to a three-day private jazz party in Copenhagen. While there Goldings met jazz legends Sarah Vaughan, Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, and Hank Jones; and he also played piano in a band with Vaughan, Harry "Sweets" Edison, and Al Cohn. While still a college student, he embarked on a worldwide tour with Jon Hendricks and worked with him for a year. A collaboration lasting almost three years with jazz guitarist Jim Hall followed.[2]

In 1988, Goldings began his development as an organist during a regular gig at a piano-less bar called Augie's Jazz Bar (now Smoke) on New York's Upper West Side. He was featured with several bands, and his own trio with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart got its start there. His first release was Intimacy of the Blues in 1991.

Over the course of his career, his distinctive keyboard sound has been sought out by pop, jazz, R&B, Brazilian, and alternative artists including De La Soul, India.Arie, Tracy Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Michael McDonald, Beck, Walter Becker, Steve Gadd, Leon Russell, Rickie Lee Jones, Sia, John Mayer, Herbie Hancock, and Norah Jones.

Record producers he has worked with include Russ Titelman, Larry Klein, Steve Jordan, Tommy LiPuma, Dave Grusin, Joe Henry, Blake Mills, Mike Viola, and T Bone Burnett. One of Goldings' first collaborations with Larry Klein includes the Madeleine Peyroux recording of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" with Goldings on Wurlitzer piano, pump organ, Hammond B3 organ, celeste, and piano solo.

He has collaborated with musicians such as Maceo Parker, John Scofield, Carla Bley, Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny, John Pizzarelli, Jack DeJohnette, Anthony Wilson and Jim Keltner, Mike Viola, and Charlie Haden in genres including jazz, Brazilian, and funk. He performs pop music as a pianist (since 2001) for singer-songwriter James Taylor.

Goldings is known for his gifts as a bass player on the Hammond organ, integral to his collaboration with Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny on Time is of the Essence and evident in the Pat Metheny composition "Extradition" during their 1999–2000 world tour. James Taylor's One Man Band 2007 live album and world tour draws heavily on Goldings' bass playing abilities, making the one man band concept possible. The album and tour also include Goldings' composition "School Song." Larry Goldings' Hammond organ is heard on John Mayer's song "Gravity," on the Grammy award-winning album, Continuum.

In 2007, Larry Goldings, Jack DeJohnette and John Scofield received a Grammy Award nomination in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Album Individual or Group for their live album, Trio Beyond - Saudades. In 2017, Goldings with the Steve Gadd Band received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Way Back Home.

In 2012 and 2013, Goldings was chosen to participate in both the Sundance Institute Documentary Film and Sundance Feature Film Composer Fellowship Programs. At the Documentary Film Lab in Sundance, Utah, Goldings scored scenes from filmmaker Johanna Hamilton's "1971." Goldings continued to work with the Sundance Institute in 2013, at the feature film lab held for the first time at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. There he collaborated with filmmaker Pamela Romanowsky, scoring scenes from her film The Adderall Diaries. Goldings' advisors in that program included noted film composers Mark Isham, Heitor Pereira, Harry Gregson-Williams, and Thomas Newman.

Style and influences[edit]

Goldings' melodic style of organ playing has often been compared to that of Larry Young. On organ Goldings cites as his first inspirations the solo piano style of Dave McKenna "who walks his own bass lines better than anyone" and Billy Preston accompanying Aretha Franklin on "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Other musical influences cited by Goldings include the Wes Montgomery records which feature Mel Rhyne and Jimmy Smith; Shirley Scott; Chester Thompson; Joe Zawinul; and Jack McDuff. Goldings' 1990s collaborations with Maceo Parker provided an authentic understanding of the language of funk music, and the voicings and rhythmic comping on the Hammond B3 organ as passed down by James Brown to Parker.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Best Jazz Album of the Year, The New Yorker, Big Stuff (1996), Awareness (1997)
  • Organist/Keyboardist of the Year, Jazz Journalists Association, 2000, 2001
  • Grammy Award Nomination, Best Jazz Album of the Year, 2007
  • Grammy Award Nomination, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, 2017
  • Best Jazz Song, "High Dreams," John Lennon Songwriting Competition, 2019


As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel
1991 Intimacy of the Blues Verve Most tracks trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums); three tracks quartet, with David "Fathead" Newman (tenor sax) added
1992 Light Blue Minor Music Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
1993 Caminhos Cruzados Novus/RCA With Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums), Guilherme Franco (percussion); Joshua Redman (tenor sax) added on three tracks
1995 Whatever It Takes Warner Bros. With Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums); plus guests Fred Wesley (trombone), Joshua Redman (tenor sax), David Sanborn and Maceo Parker (alto sax), Richard Patterson (bass)
1996 Big Stuff Warner Bros. With Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums), Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Idris Muhammad (drums), Bashiri Johnson (percussion), Guilherme Franco (percussion), John McKenna (tenor saxophone)
1997 Awareness Warner Bros. With Larry Grenadier (bass), Paul Motian (drums)
1999 Moonbird Palmetto Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2000 Voodoo Dogs Palmetto With Bob Ward (guitarist)
2001 As One Palmetto Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2002 Sweet Science Palmetto Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2003 Hollywood Album Lucomo With Darek "Oleś" Oleszkiewicz (double bass); Adam Czerwiński (drums)

(re-issued in 2019 on vinyl by AC Records as "Hollywood Trio")

2004 Saudades ECM As Trio Beyond; trio, with John Scofield (guitar), Jack DeJohnette (drums); in concert
2006 Quartet Palmetto Most tracks quartet, with John Sneider (cornet, trumpet), Ben Allison (bass), Matt Wilson (drums); one track quintet, with Madeleine Peyroux (vocals) added
2007 Long Story Short Sticky Mack Records With Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)
2009 The Carriage House Sessions Sweet Song Duo with Peter Salett (vocals)
2010 When Larry Met Harry Café Society Quartet, with Harry Allen (tenor sax), Doug Weiss and Neil Miner (bass; separately), Andy Watson (drums)[3]
2011 In My Room BFM Jazz Solo piano
2011 Live At Smalls Smallslive Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)[4]
2014 Music from the Front Room Sticky Mack Records Trio, with David Piltch (bass), Jay Bellerose (drums)[5]
2014 Ramshackle Serenade Pirouet Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)[6]
2018 Radio Music Vol.1 Independent All music written and performed by Goldings
2018 Toy Tunes Pirouet Trio, with Peter Bernstein (guitar), Bill Stewart (drums)[7]
2018 Scary Goldings Scary Pockets With Scary Pockets[8]
2019 Scary Goldings: The Ego Trap Scary Pockets With Scary Pockets[9]
2020 Tie Me To You Monsoon Records With Kathleen Grace
2020 Scary Goldings: Feel. Scary Pockets With Scary Pockets[10]
2021 Earthshine Colorfield Records All music written and performed by Goldings

Main sources:[11][12]

As sideman[edit]

With Peter Bernstein

  • Brain Dance (Criss Cross, 1996)
  • Earth Tones (Criss Cross, 1998)

With Till Brönner

  • Oceana (EmArcy, 2006)
  • Rio (Verve, 2008)
  • At the End of the Day (Bam Bam, 2010)
  • The Good Life (Masterworks, 2016)

With Chris Minh Doky

  • Listen Up! (Virgin, 2000)
  • Cinematique (Blue Note/Capitol, 2002)
  • Scenes from a Dream (Red Dot, 2010)

With Sia

  • Colour the Small One (Astralwerks, 2004)
  • Some People Have Real Problems (Hear Music, 2008)

With Robben Ford

  • Truth (Concord, 2007)
  • Soul on Ten (Concord, 2009)
  • Bringing It Back Home (Provogue, 2013)

With Steve Gadd

  • Gadditude (BFM, 2013)
  • Steve Gadd Band 70 Strong (BFM, 2015)
  • Way Back Home (BFM, 2016)
  • Steve Gadd Band (BFM, 2018)

With Melody Gardot

With Jesse Harris

  • Mineral (Secret Sun, 2006)
  • No Wrong No Right (Dangerbird, 2015)

With Jim Hall

  • Subsequently (MusicMasters, 1992)
  • Something Special (MusicMasters/Limelight, 1993)

With Colin Hay

  • Company of Strangers (Lazy Eye, 2002)
  • Are You Lookin' at Me? (Compass/Lazy Eye, 2007)
  • Next Year People (Compass/Lazy Eye, 2015)

With Adam Levy

  • Buttermilk Channel (Lost Wax, 2001)
  • Town & Country (Lost Wax, 2014)

With John Mayer

  • Continuum (Columbia, 2006)
  • The Search for Everything (Columbia, 2017)

With Jessica Molaskey

  • Make Believe (PS Classics, 2003)
  • Sitting in Limbo (PS Classics, 2007)
  • Portraits of Joni (Ghostlight, 2017)

With James Moody

  • Young at Heart (Warner Bros., 1996)
  • Warner Jams Vol. 2: The Two Tenors (Warner Bros., 1997)

With Maceo Parker

  • Roots Revisited (Verve, 1990)
  • Mo' Roots (Verve, 1991)
  • Life on Planet Groove (Verve, 1992)

With Rebecca Pidgeon

  • Behind the Velvet Curtain (Great American Music, 2008)
  • Bad Poetry (Toy Canteen, 2014)

With Madeleine Peyroux

  • Careless Love (Rounder, 2004)
  • Half the Perfect World (Rounder, 2006)
  • Bare Bones (Rounder/Decca, 2008)
  • The Blue Room (Decca/EmArcy, 2012)

With John Pizzarelli

  • Double Exposure (Telarc, 2012)
  • Midnight McCartney (Concord, 2015)

With Tim Ries

  • Alternate Side (Criss Cross, 2001)
  • The Rolling Stones Project (Concord, 2005)

With Lee Ritenour

  • 6 String Theory (Concord, 2010)
  • Rhythm Sessions (Concord, 2012)

With John Scofield

  • Hand Jive (Blue Note, 1994)
  • Groove Elation (Blue Note, 1995)
  • Steady Groovin (Blue Note, 2000, compilation)
  • That's What I Say (Verve, 2005)
  • A Moment's Peace (EmArcy, 2011)
  • Country for Old Men (Impulse!, 2016)

With Mark Sholtez

  • The Distance Between Two Truths (Warner, 2010)
  • The Edge of the Known World (Ambition, 2015)

With Bill Stewart

  • Incandescence (Pirouet, 2008)
  • Live at Smalls (Smallslive, 2011)
  • Ramshackle Serenade (Pirouet, 2014)
  • Toy Tunes (Pirouet, 2018)

With Curtis Stigers

  • Baby Plays Around (Concord Jazz, 2001)
  • Secret Heart (Concord Jazz, 2002)
  • You Inspire Me (Concord Jazz, 2003) (As sideman & producer)
  • I Think It's Going To Rain Today (Concord Jazz, 2005) (As sideman & producer)
  • Real Emotional (Concord Jazz, 2007) (As sideman & producer)
  • Lost In Dreams (Concord Jazz, 2009)
  • Let's Go Out Tonight (Concord Jazz, 2012)

With Dave Stryker

  • Blue Degrees (1993)
  • Shades of Miles (SteepleChase, 2000)

With James Taylor

  • October Road (Columbia, 2002)
  • A Christmas Album (Hallmark, 2004)
  • One Man Band (Hear Music, 2007)
  • Other Covers (Hear Music, 2009)
  • Before This World (Concord, 2015)
  • American Standard (Fantasy, 2020)

With Matt Wilson

  • As Wave Follows Wave (Palmetto, 1996)
  • Arts and Crafts (Palmetto, 2001)

With Lazlo Bane

With others

Film and TV credits[edit]

  • 2020 Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (TV series composer)
  • 2016 The Founder (soundtrack featuring "In Spite of Everything" composed and performed by Larry Goldings)
  • 2015 Trainwreck (soundtrack featuring "The Morning After" composed and performed by Larry Goldings)
  • 2014 Neighbors (soundtrack featuring "Tanglefoot Bounce" composed and performed by Larry Goldings)
  • 2014 Good Morning America and Walmart Soundcheck (featuring "Battlefield" an original composition performed by Lea Michele)
  • 2013 The Mark of Beauty (featuring "Strays" an original composition performed by Larry Goldings)
  • 2013 Dealing With Idiots (film composer)
  • 2009 The Dream's on Me (featured in film and on soundtrack)
  • 2009 Funny People (featuring "Memory" performed by Larry Goldings and Maude Apatow, and "Tuscany" (originally titled "Dario and Bario"), an original composition performed by Larry Goldings)
  • 2008 Bernard and Doris (HBO) (soundtrack featuring performance by Larry Goldings )
  • 2008 The Office (NBC) (soundtrack featuring performance by Larry Goldings)
  • 2008 Great Performances on PBS: James Taylor: One Man Band (featuring Larry Goldings as "One Man Band" and "School Song" an original composition performed by Larry Goldings)
  • 2005 Proof (soundtrack featuring "Uganda," an original composition performed by Larry Goldings)
  • 2000 Space Cowboys (soundtrack featuring several arrangements of jazz standards performed by Larry Goldings)


  1. ^ JARENWATTANANON, PATRICK (20 February 2012). "The Man Who Makes Monk Better". NPR Jazz. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Larry Goldings: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  3. ^ Simmons, Greg (January 30, 2011). "Larry Goldings and Harry Allen: When Larry Met Harry". AllAboutJazz. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "Live at Smalls - P. Bernstein, Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, B. Stewart, Bill Stewart | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Ramshackle Serenade - Peter Bernstein, Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  7. ^ "Toy Tunes - Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  8. ^ "Scary Goldings, by Scary Goldings".
  9. ^ "The Ego Trap, by Scary Goldings".
  10. ^ "Feel., by Scary Goldings".
  11. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1996). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (3rd ed.). Penguin. p. 508. ISBN 978-0-14-051368-4.
  12. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. pp. 564–565. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.

External links[edit]