I first heard about the British keyboardist and producer Dan Goldman
(aka JD73) when I stumbled onto his YouTube demo of the Nord Electro 3
in 2009. I thought to myself, “Who is this guy who funks Clavinet riffs
like Stevie Wonder and rips piano parts like Kenny Kirkland?” I soon
found out that Dan was one of the most sought-after keyboardists in the
U.K., playing with the likes of Morcheeba, Bebel Gilberto, and countless
others. Find out more at jd73.co.uk. Scroll past the video for the interview.
HOMETOWN: Leeds, U.K.
MUSICAL TRAINING: I started my piano studies at
the age of five with a great local teacher called Margaret Silver. Later
I studied classical piano with a superb pianist and educator named
Michael Aston. In high school, I played keyboards and bass in bands and
made my first beats/songs using my Yamaha SY55’s sequencer. At age 18, I
moved on to study Jazz (piano and bass guitar) for three years at Leeds
College of Music in the UK. I had some great teachers there, including
Bill Kinghorn, Nigel Chapman, Pete Churchill and the Bebop pianist Joe
Palin, who played with Art Farmer and Maynard Ferguson amongst others.
FIRST GIGS: Playing solo classical piano concerts
during school assemblies, and playing keyboards for school productions,
along with a few gigs with my school band mates. I also played piano in
the college big band and played keys and bass with various cover and
original bands. We ended-up supporting Maceo Parker with a killer
original jazz/funk instrumental band called Taxi.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Herbie Hancock’s Rhodes playing
and electric years have been the biggest influence on me (including
albums from his Mwandishi period), along with Fat Albert, Headhunters, Thrust, Manchild, Sunlight and Mr. Hands.
I’m a Fender-Rhodes-aholic, (and I service them too)! Other big
influences include Bob James, John Schofield, George Duke, Paul Jackson,
Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Patrice Rushen, Stevie Wonder, Prince,
D’Angelo, Brian Auger, EWF, Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton, to name a
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: D’Angelo’s Black Messiah.
INSTRUMENTS PLAYED: Rhodes, Clavinet, analog synths, Hammond B3 organ, acoustic piano, bass guitar and a bit of electric guitar too.
MY BIG BREAK: Playing-wise, it came in 1999 when a
mutual friend introduced me to Skye, Paul and Ross from Morcheeba and I
subsequently went on to tour, write and record with them until 2008.
Since then I’ve been lucky to play, record and hang out with many great
musicians and bands including Leon Ware, the New Mastersounds, the
Haggis Horns, Corinne Bailey Rae, TY, Dennis Rollins’ Badbone
(trombonist in Maceo Parker’s band) and with members of Incognito and
Jamiroquai. As far as my own music, my first JD73 single release was
picked up by Nightmares on Wax’s Wax On label in 2006, and my first JD73 album Zeros and Ones dropped on the US label Ropeadope in 2008.
LATEST ALBUM: My last JD73 album Pure Gold dropped on Joey Negro’s Z Records in 2010. My next album Make Your Move will be out in 2015 (label TBD).
FAVORITE KEYBOARD GEAR: So many to mention, but my
favorite live boards are my Rhodes pianos (MK2 Janus and MK7 MIDI) and
my Nord Stage 2 Midi’d up to my Moog Minitaur (for left-hand bass
duties). In the studio, I can’t get enough of my Moogs (Little Phatty,
Voyager, Memorymoog, Source). I also love the Alesis Andromeda, my
Hammond B3 and 122 Leslie, Suitcase Rhodes, Clavinet D6, Yamaha U1
upright and Solina String Ensemble. Amp-wise I love the Yamaha DXR15 for
full range duties and for Rhodes, the Gibson Lab Series L5 is the
WHAT’S NEXT: I’m currently finishing mixing
mythird JD73 album and preparing to gig with my band, the ElectraSoul
Orchestra. I’ve also just finished writing and mixing a track for Bluey
(Incognito) and I’m also mixing records for some great artists and
remixing as well, including a track for my good friend Bill Laurance
(Snarky Puppy), all while fixing up Rhodes pianos and doing online
sessions too. I’m also making an EP with my Rhodes-led trio the ElecTrio
(we supported José James on tour in the UK last year), and I’m planning
some electronic/experimental duo gigs with drummer Luke Flowers from
the Cinematic Orchestra.
ADVICE: To advance your playing, I’ve always found
the best approach is to have some classical/jazz scales and modes under
your belt initially (always practice with your metronome), then progress
to jamming along with your favorite records and transcribing solos by
ear. When soloing, make sure that there is real intention behind
every note you play. It sounds obvious, but just playing pre-learned
runs for the sake of it won’t make for great music! When it comes to
synths, don’t be afraid - turn everything and see what happens! Above
all, always enjoy yourself. Playing keyboards is one of the best jobs
anyone could have.