Saturday, September 26, 2015

Listening to Prestige Part 148: Sanford Gold

Sanford Gold only made this one album under his own name, and it's been pretty much forgotten. Too bad. It's a nice listen--the guy definitely knew his way around a piano. Since I know so little (read nothing) about him, and since whoever wrote his Wiki entry obviously did know, and cared, and was a good writer, I'll quote it here:
Gold was one of the premier jazz piano teachers of his time. His self-published book, "A Modern Approach to Keyboard Harmony and Piano Techniques," distills the complexities of jazz and classical harmony down to a simple yet far-reaching system of pianistic and harmonic exercises, and has become an underground classic for serious students of the instrument. One of his biggest fans was Bill Evans, who often steered students his way.
His students have also remembered him on YouTube, where they've posted cuts from his album--and even the whole album. Some reminiscences:
 I was 3 yrs. old when Sanford Gold recorded this. I had my first lesson with him 12 years later in a seedy old building on 49th St and 7th Ave, full of jazz musicians like Clark Terry, Milt Hinton, Tony Aless, Ross Tompkins and the musicians from The Tonight Show band all hanging out at his studio, where there was a card game going on that never seemed to end. I thought he wasn't listening, but he would call out "3rd finger, Dummy!' from the next room.
 When I was a kid, I would sit in the waiting room while my dad was taking a lesson. By then the lessons were in a building at 58th street, and there was no room for dudes to hang out... Calling Sanford Gold a "character" is an understatement. He could be hear yelling "play that fuckin' chord" from the next room like Erik says.
 And another:
 I was a student of Sanford Gold in the mid-70s in New York.  The best piano teacher I ever had. He did once pull a machete on me, but I know he did it with love.
So we have to be grateful that Prestige brought him in for this session, although he did record with Don Byas, Stan Getz, Johnny Smith, Al Cohn, Vic Dickenson and Coleman Hawkins. And grateful to his students for keeping his memory alive.

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