An alumni of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, saxophonist Andrew Gould has established himself as one of the most in-demand players on the New York City music scene. His debut outing, First Things First, is a collection of music that he composed in the past few years while working and living in New York City. The tracks demonstrate a wide variety of styles, each representing his many influences and inspirations. His music spans concepts with roots in straight-ahead jazz, R&B/funk, and bebop. Flexing his versatility as a composer and performer, Gould perfected his voice along his travels.
“On a Darker Moon” has Gould in the role of supporting Ioana Vinta’s vocals, stitching curly cues with his sax around her soaring wails. The funky rhythm of “Cool Off” showcases his effort to compose music that has gusto. The fast-paced tempo of “R Train” propels the ripples in his sax, and the brisk quivers of “Mumbo Jumbo” show a straight-ahead jazz twinkle in his music. Inspired by his hero John Coltrane, Gould wrote the title track with the intention of creating a hybrid of blues and jam session-based jazz.
With a tendency to make music that is fun to play, Gould applies the principles of R&B, funk, and jazz to his arrangements. In “7 am,” Gould puts to music the experience of witnessing the morning rush-hour in New York City. The crowds running for the subway and pedestrians scurrying to wherever they need to be are set to music. “Song for Millie” is a ballad that Gould was inspired to write after dog-sitting for a friend. The pooch he looked after was named Millie. Her gentle personality was the impetus for Gould’s score.
A graduate of both the Manhattan School of Music and SUNY Purchase, Gould continues to build his skills as a live performer by teaching private lessons and master classes regularly. His recent project includes a world premier performance and studio recording of Wayne Shorter’s “Universe” with the Wallace Roney Orchestra. This is followed up by composing and performing with other musicians like pianist Steven Feifke in addition to playing in his own jazz combo.