Beginning in 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio “kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music” (SF Chronicle), clarinetist Ben Goldberg has established himself as “one of the most vibrant, flexible, and inventive clarinetists in jazz and improvised music” (Downbeat), “an artist who seems to find beautiful melodies at the end of every path.” (NPR). Through his many bands and compositional projects The New York Times has noted Ben’s music for “a feeling of joyous research into the basics of polyphony and collective improvising,” and he was named #1 Rising Star Clarinetist in the Downbeat Critics Poll in both 2011 and 2013. In 2015 Ben released Orphic Machine, a song-cycle with lyrics from the “speculative poetics” of Allen Grossman, performed by a nine piece ensemble including Nels Cline, Ron Miles, Myra Melford, and Ches Smith, and sung by violinist Carla Kihlstedt. The LA Times called Orphic Machine “knotted and occasionally spooky composition marked by dazzling interplay.”
Ben leads or co-leads The Out Louds, Invisible Guy, Unfold Ordinary Mind; Go Home, “a searching ensemble that welcomes lyrical improvisation while embracing the groove” (The New Yorker); Ben Goldberg School; and Ben Goldberg Trio with Greg Cohen and Kenny Wollesen. He is a member of the avant-chamber jazz ensemble Tin Hat; and performs in a duo with pianist Myra Melford called DIALOGUE. Other affiliations include plays monk; Myra Melford’s Be Bread; Kris Davis’ Infrasound; Nels Cline’s New Monastery; Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors; Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom; and Clarinet Thing. The 11- piece Ben Goldberg’s Brainchild performs Ben’s on-the-spot compositions.