(126) Andrew Gilbert, ContraCosta Times -- 11/16/06

No one can accuse Ben Goldberg of hiding in the shadows. It's true that the Berkeley-based clarinetist, a creative force in jazz and improvised music for more than two decades, has often flown under the mainstream radar, ridiculously undetected by major clubs, festivals and the jazz press.

But over the past year or so, he's been impossible to ignore, as a series of collaborations have put him smack-dab in the center of several of the scene's most fertile musical ensembles.

While he didn't perform with his own band at the just-concluded San Francisco Jazz Festival, Goldberg was a key participant in two remarkable performances, providing thick, sure-footed lines with guitarist Nels Cline's "New Monastery" project exploring the music of Andrew Hill, while perfectly balancing earthy textures and questing grooves with pianist/composer Myra Melford, who has called the clarinetist "one of the musicians I most look forward to working with."

Andrew Gilbert
ContraCosta Times