JLife speaks to Dan Goldman, Leeds-based professional musician and business owner, about the local jazz scene, playing with Morcheeba and his recent gig in London.

When JLife catches up with Dan Goldman, CEO of piano repair service Rhodesworks and Leeds-based session keyboardist, remixer and producer, he’s fresh from a gig at world famous venue Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London with his electro-funk-jazz band The ElecTrio.

“That was a real buzz for us,” says Dan, who also goes under the professional alias JD73. “For The ElecTrio and for anyone that plays jazz or jazz-influenced music, it’s definitely the most prestigious and well-known jazz, funk and soul venue in the UK. The vibe in there is magical and it was really an honour for us.”

But this is far from the only famous venue that Dan, who describes his style as “a ‘twisted fusion’ of many influences [that] always has a funky, groove-heavy and soulful edge to it”, has graced. A student of classical piano from age five until 18 and a graduate from the prominent jazz course at Leeds College of Music, Dan found himself propelled into the limelight with “multi-million [album] selling trip-hop band” Morcheeba, an experience he says has been one of the highlights of his career so far.

“I linked up with Morcheeba in 2000 via a mutual friend and I was their touring and studio keyboardist until 2008,” Dan continues.

“It massively shaped me as an artist and performer. I got to see the world several times over, watch and learn from everyone in the band who were masters of their craft and it was just an incredible experience to be playing in front of thousands of people every night. I don’t take that for granted and it gave me an even greater taste for doing my own thing and taking that forward too.”

During that time, Dan took to the stage at Hollywood Bowl, the Glastonbury Festival World Stage, and for TV’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Later…with Jools Holland. However, despite the glamour, globe-trotting and big stages, Dan also has encouraging words to say about Leeds’ thriving music scene and the range of venues supporting live music locally.

“Leeds has always had a very healthy jazz, funk and soul scene – especially so back in the 90s when I was studying. Whether visibly in venues for live gigs and jam nights, or underground in commercial or basement recording studios and rehearsal rooms, there are many talented musicians in Leeds and the surrounding areas that deserve a platform worldwide and many are gradually breaking through and getting noticed.

“There are some great venues, promoters and DJs who support jazz, funk and soul in the city, but jazz’s influence seems to be growing stronger and merging into the mainstream and many Leeds musicians are involved in pushing the music forward – so I would say it’s an exciting time for music in general in Leeds and the UK.”

On his favourite places to perform in the city, Dan adds: “My favourite venue in Leeds to play at was, and always will be, The Underground that used to be under the Town & Country Club – now the O2 Academy Leeds – that was a magical place and many amazing nights and collaborations happened there. These days, there are many places I love to play, Belgrave Music Hall, Smokestack, The HiFi Club, Sela Bar, but I’d have to say The Wardrobe is still one of my all-time favourites.”

Dan, aka JD73, enjoyed success with his last album Make Your Move in 2015, which “got a lot of love worldwide including in Japan, the US and the UK and was No.1 in the UK Soul Chart for a few weeks”, but is now looking to future projects; “I’m currently working on the fourth JD73 album – a fusion of disco, funk, soul and electronics. I am also working on The ElecTrio’s debut album which is a jazz-funk fusion trio with myself on Rhodes piano and synths, Hamlet Luton on Bass and Gordon Kilroy on drums.”

The ElecTrio were recently awarded funding through northern development agency Jazz North’s northern line scheme, of which Dan says: “I’m always chasing down as many gigs as possible across the UK and beyond, which the funding will help with. We are always out playing in the UK and have gigs coming up at Korks in Otley on 28th May, Manchester Jazz Festival in July, plus Smokestack in Leeds in September. It’s always important to play regularly on your doorstep as it all builds from there. As I said before, I don’t ever take it for granted and always strive to make music that makes people feel great. ”

And, what about Dan’s own musical guilty pleasures? “Well I grew up listening to Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Genesis and Level 42 and I still love them all today!”

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