Pianist Aaron Goldberg’s lyricism is informed by a sly wit, open to shifts in mood, without ever losing a sense of narrative cohesion. On this, his fifth album with trio mates Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums), the Boston native and Harvard grad shows off his gifts as a natural balladeer, especially on the original waltz “The Wind in the Night,” its rich ascending chords matched by a recurring, melancholy descent, its single-note lines expanding and contracting with each new thought. Equally contemplative is Goldberg’s take on Chico Buarque’s break-up song, “Trocando em Miúdos.” (It’s one of three Brazilian songs here, including Djavan’s “Triste Baía da Guanabara” and Toninho Horta’s “Francisca,” all played with the formal elegance of American Songbook standards.) As for uptempo numbers, Goldberg tears through Charlie Parker’s “Perhaps,” playing out-of-sync, simultaneous melody lines in each hand; offers Lennie Tristano-like linear drive on Warne Marsh’s “Background Music”; and hits a Caribbean groove on Haitian folk song “YoYo.” The finale, “One Life,” is a feature for Goldberg’s former boss, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.
Essential “The Wind in the Night”
The Aaron Goldberg Trio plays the Regattabar in Cambridge on Feb. firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jgarelick.