The musical journey of violinist Jerry Goodman began in the late 1960’s with a rock band named The Flock. Their sound was similar to Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago except for one important ingredient. That component was the rock violin of Goodman, which made the band very different from their contemporaries. After two albums he left and joined the first incarnation of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. For the past four decades he has disappeared, reappeared in a number of fusion groups, and released several solo albums.
His latest release, Violin Fantasy, is an eclectic album of odds and ends from his career. His violin always makes the music interesting but as an album of milestones, both new and old, it lacks cohesiveness and only provides a number of glimpses into his talent and vision.
He is at his best when he has a strong presence to play off of. “Random Acts Of Science” with Rick Wakeman and “The Laws Of Nature” with Tony Levin and Billy Sherwood are good example of his ability to amplify the talent of others.
There are a number of well know songs that he enhances and makes very interesting through the sound of his violin which always borders on being out of control. “Dream Weaver,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Eye Of The Tiger,” all take interesting twists and turns courtesy of Mr. Goodman.
Tracks that he dominates such as “Violin Fantasy,” “In The Air Tonight,” and “The Final Countdown” show his technique and virtuosity, which are unique in the expression of rock and roll.
Violin Fantasy only offers a taste of what Goodwin has to offer. Each song has something to offer but hopefully it will push the listener to seek out some of his more focused and structured material.