“ ‘McCoy’ …sizzles with Tyner like…speed, flair and intricacy. Even more impressive is his take on Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t,” which under Goldberg’s adroit and nimble fingers evokes Bud Powell. It’s this kind of maturity and proficiency that pervades ‘Let’s Play!’…” — Downbeat, Herb Boyd, August 2019
This review of the 4-Star debut album by Miami native, Brandon Goldberg, appeared in the largest-circulation jazz magazine in the world. The prodigy pianist who began playing at age 3 made this recording at 12, producing and arranging it and composing three of the tunes included.
In the summer of 2006, the then tiny 10-year-old appeared at Litchfield Jazz Camp’s registration in a preppy sport coat, pressed kahkis, open-neck oxford shirt and docksiders-sans-socks. He’d been vetted in advance for “fit” for the well-established program whose admission age is set at 13. His placement audition put him in a combo with students five to 10 years older than he was under the direction of –as it turned out–McCoy Tyner’s bassist of 20 years and long-time faculty member at Litchfield, Avery Sharp.
To be candid, he was a bit of a know-it-all until Sharp discovered this clever little fellow was indulging in magical thinking. He imagined if he were sufficiently irritating, he would be reassigned to a group of young players from Miami, his only friends at the camp. Well, that tactic failed spectacularly, so Brandon calmed down and became one of Sharp’s favorite pupils. The master, who had become so devoted to the young musical genius, later made the trek from Amherst to New York to attend the first of what will be many record release parties for Brandon, this one celebrating his debut album Let’s Play, at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Flash forward five years, Brandon Goldberg, now 15, has already performed at the Newport, Litchfield and Caramoor Jazz Festivals, Bravo Niagara Festival of the Arts, and some renowned jazz venues including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Dizzy’s, Birdland Theatre, The Blue Note, Mezzrow, The Apollo, and Keystone Korner in Baltimore—all well before he is old enough to vote, let alone drink in these establishments.
On October 22, Brandon Goldberg will open the second season of Litchfield Jazz Presents, a live-stream series from Telefunken Soundstage founded last year by Litchfield Jazz Festival as an alternative to in person shows in the face of a pandemic. The program has been so well received by jazz lovers far and wide, it will become an ongoing part of its offerings—alongside its 26 year old festival and Jazz Camp—and with enthusiastic support from fans and friends, its free.
Brandon, who is honoring the music of Cole Porter in this appearance, will be joined by a bassist (TBD), and by Mark Whitfield, Jr. on drums. Mark has active careers in jazz and both were Litchfield Jazz Campers! The concert begins at 7:30 and can be accessed here on our website.