Eric Goletz, A New Light Review
by Nolan DeBuke
Eric Goletz is back with his second album as a leader called A New Light. After a thirty-year career as a studio musician and first-call horn player in New York City, Goletz is now releasing his own material. He released his debut album, Into the Night, in March of 2021. With A New Light, Goletz is at the helm of a big band with strings playing a mix of musical styles influenced by his diverse background, skills, and taste. The compositions and arrangements are all a deeper glimpse into his musicianship. Goletz says, “I think of music as having endless possibilities. It’s a journey where you can never be absolutely sure where it will lead. Although my background is in jazz and classical music, I spend much time listening to other forms of music such as pop, rock, Country, Motown, funk, Latin, and even Heavy Metal. There’s always something new to learn, and I try to keep an open mind to the simple joy of listening to music.”
“A New Light” has a funky 70s vibe, with the ensemble showing their finely tuned reading and ensemble playing chops. Goletz takes the lead as well as turns in two contrasting solos. Guitarist Henry Heinitsh takes a developing solo too. The ensemble is in sync, and the combination of orchestrated melodies and building backgrounds produce a unified sound throughout the song. The solos are balanced with ensemble sections, and Goletz’s writings style builds motifs with counterpoint and harmonic textures. This selection will certainly keep your attention to proceed further into the album.
Goletz’s pieces are vital and reflect multiple styles. “Edge Of Night” is an example of his compositional ability for writing a flowing jazz-rock fusion piece of music with a funky retro groove style. The melodies pull from pop, rock, and jazz fusion. The form is developed as it runs the course of simple chord progressions supported by deep groove and intelligent, catchy riffs. Goltetz has an extensive vocabulary; again, the latter song investigates a captivating set of feels and harmonic colors with rock and retro fusion elements. The trombonist writes a stylish tutti section before he solos with clear communicators.
A New Light has many moments of engaging playful rhythmic activities and memorable riffs. The nine originals and two arrangements are outlined with different textures and varied movements to form a unified whole. The string ensemble could be used more throughout the album, but that still does not detract from the writing. In the end, Goletz will entertain you as a composer and performer in a wide variety of musical settings.