Monday, September 14, 2020

What Ben Goldberg has Been Doing During the Pandemic

Photo: John Rudoff
Like most musicians, clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg had a busy Spring and Summer 2020 planned with concerts, tours, recordings, etc.  By the middle of March, all that had evaporated and he was sitting home shocked, wondering what to do until the world reopened.  After a few days of contemplation, Goldberg decided to record one song a day in his home studio. He has a number of instruments, acoustic and electric––Bb Clarinet, Eb Albert System Clarinet, Contra Alto Clarinet, Roland JX-03 Synthesizer, Korg MS-20 Synthesizer, Empress Tape Delay Pedal, Memory Boy Analog Delay––and so, on March 19, he posted his first piece in his Bandcamp page, dubbing the sessions the "Plague Diary". The recordings are free but donations are welcome; the address is below.

Goldberg posted one track each and every day until April 7. Since then, he's averaging five to seven pieces a week (from April 30 to June 28, he did not miss a day) and has yet to go more than two days between pieces. As of this writing (9/14/2020), the clarinetist has posted 148 separate recordings.  Some are experimental while others have delightful melodies and playful treatments.  Some tracks last no more than 90 seconds while others are multi-sectioned, episodic, and are over 17 minutes long.  All of it is fascinating.  While we do not know the thought processes behind the songs, many of the pieces are dedicated to musicians he has worked with (such as Ron Miles and Myra Melford) and others who have inspired him (Charlie Parker, family members).

If you are a Ben Goldberg fan or just curious, go to and check it out.  You can play any song on his site and, if you like what you hear, leave some money.

To find out more about Ben Goldberg, go to

Here's his piece from July 15 dedicated to Joshua Redman:

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