TORSTEN GOODS is a German jazz guitarist and he’s a half decent jazz-pop/soul singer too! The proof’s evident almost everywhere on his upcoming ‘Soul Searching’ album.
First a little info. Herr Goods (of German/Irish ancestry) was something of a child prodigy which resulted in him winning a scholarship to study jazz guitar in New York. He debuted on record in 2004 with the LP ‘Steppin’’; then a move to Act Records saw more albums, each betraying Torsten’s passion for jazz guitar in general and the craft of George Benson in particular.
His last album was 2015’s ‘Midst Of Your Love’ to which the aforementioned ‘Soul Searching’ is the follow up. The delay between releases can be explained by a number of factors – Covid obviously, but also, sadly, Torsten was struck by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia. The issue was a source of immense emotional stress but our man has now come to terms with the problem and is back making his classy take on guitar-led jazz/soul.
Indeed Torsten is comfortable enough with the Alopecia issue that two songs on the album refer directly to it. First up there’s ‘Naked Funk’ – a busy, bustling vocal/guitar track ; then there’s the very different ‘I Had To Learn Not To Care’. That’s one’s a simple guitar-accompanied ballad about acceptance of change.
Those two tracks represent the extremes of music on the 14 tracker. Amongst the other ballads is a quite lovely cover of the Kenny Loggins’ ‘Who’s Right Who’s Wrong’ . This one features mournful harmonica and, I’m thinking, was inspired by the Al Jarreau/Randy Crawford version.
The biggest up-tempo moment is ‘Spinning Round’ – an obvious homage to good old George Benson. This comes complete with full production, jazz guitar, scat vocals and full-on soulful commitment. In the absence of new Benson music – give this one a try!
The album’s title track is another highlight. A steady, mid-tempo groove, with Swedish trombonist Nils Landgren helping out with some tasteful fills. ‘Carnival De La Gente’ is the album’s big Latin moment, while the set’s oddity is a cover of the Spencer Davis Group’s 1965 pop hit, ‘Keep On Running’. Torsten and his team slow it right on down and to add extra texture, Pete York, (the drummer in the original Spencer Davis Group) offers a spoken introduction and also sings a couple of verses, showing why Spencer Davis chose Stevie Winwood as his lead singer!
Torsten Goods’ ‘soul Searching is released on 15th September via Erminal T/Membran