Torsten Goods - Love Comes to Town
(Act Music ACT9726-2. CD Review by Alison Bentley)
'I feel like a propeller on an aeroplane from 1975,' says Berlin-based singer-guitarist Torsten Goods at the end of the opening track, You Wind Me Up. His 2008 CD 1980 took songs from the year of his birth as its theme. This summery, breezy recording seems to go back to the 70s for inspiration, though half the tracks are co-written by Goods himself.
His guitar style has been compared with George Benson, and the three instrumentals have something of Benson's virtuosic joie de vivre: precise phrasing with a cool, laid back feel. Goods' own Weekend at the A-Trane and Berlin P.M., could be from Benson's Breezin' era, with guest Felix Lehrmann's fine funky drumming on the latter. (Wolfgang Haffner drums superbly through the rest of the album in tandem with bassist Christian von Kaphengst) The Crusaders' Put it Where You Want It has a Steely Dan-like Fender Rhodes groove; Goods moves from BB King-like bluesy soloing to some speedy gypsy jazz lines.
Goods sings on most of the tracks. In recent years he's been working with soul singers Narada Michael Walden and Sarah Connor, and some of his songs have a jazz-dipped-in-soul sound, a little like Jamie Cullum. Swedish soul singer Ida Sand guests on her composition Brutal Truth. Here and on several songs Goods scats brilliantly in unison with his guitar solo (again Benson-like), and you always wish it would last just a little longer. Sand also guests on U2's much-covered soul-rock When Love Comes to Town (A fine arrangement that could be straight off a Bobby Bland album). Goods' voice sounds very like James Taylor here- also on his own Unlucky Like Me and You Wind Me Up, with his lazy warm tone, but his guitar style is more Pat Martino.
At times Goods has Michael Bublé’s soft plush tone and superb timing; Goods' Freedom Every Day recalls Bublé's Haven't Met You Yet. He covers Richard Marx' ballad Right Here Waiting with a gentle breathiness over Jan Miserre's excellent modern jazz piano reharmonisation and mellow trumpet solo from Till Brönner. (Miserre’s also co-written several tracks with Goods.) His voice sounds smooth and buttery as he duets with Viktoria Tolstoy on his Motown-ish Summer Lovin’ and the only standard, They Can't Take That Away From Me. Perhaps the jazziest track is a cover of Willie Nelson's Night Life, in slow 12/8, sung with a low-key vulnerability, the way Peter Cincotti does, with rich tenor sax from Marcus Lindgren.
The album's pleasantly retro sound comes in part from the fab Blood Sweat and Tears-like horn arrangements (by Miserre, Lindgren and trombonist Nils Landgren) though they're quite low in the mix. I'd love to hear Goods at a summer festival with a big band blasting out the horn lines. This album should appeal to fans of Jamie Cullum and Michael Bublé, but Torsten Goods has a sassy energy all his own.