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 few!
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 business!
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.