Richie Goods, an electric and upright bass player, who has toured and recorded with such jazz and soul music legends as Milt Jackson, Stanley Turrentine, Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys believes his career was destined.
“I think I was born to be a bass player. I just feel it. A lot of people like to be in the spotlight and it’s fun to get my moments to be in the spotlight and to solo and everything—but I get the most joy out of being (in) that supporting role.”
A graduate from the prestigious jazz program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Goods is currently on tour with Grammy winning trumpeter Chris Botti. The tour has taken him around the U.S. and the world. Botti and company were in his hometown of Pittsburgh recently.
It was an emotional time for him in the “City of Bridges” where they gave an exhilarating performance at Heinz Hall. Goods didn’t hide his excitement about being back home saying it was “awesome.” He got especially psyched coming from the airport and driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel not far from his hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.
“Just coming through the tunnel I just get this energy. (And) especially playing at Heinz Hall because as a kid growing up in Pittsburgh Heinz Hall was always the place where they say—‘keep practicing you never know you could end up playing at Heinz Hall.’ And now this is my second time playing at Heinz Hall,” Goods, the youngest person ever inducted into the Pittsburgh Jazz Hall of Fame, fervidly declared.
Playing with Botti has been outstanding Goods says for a number of reasons, “It’s been one of the best experiences of my musical career just because of the people on and off the bandstand. It’s moving for me on stage and offstage. It’s beautiful because it’s such a beautiful family group of people. That makes the road so much easier.”
During the show at Heinz Hall I watched how he passionately stroked the strings on his guitar—moving from the upright to the electric bass guitar with ease—touching the hearts of the audience with each song he played. Goods says that he knows the bass is special.
“The bass is different from a lot of other instruments. You don’t know it’s there. It just moves you in a certain way.”
There’s something he says the band knows about what he does but the audience may not, “(The) bass player has a lot of control on the stage. It’s a powerful position.
“We’re the center of everything. I always equate b-a-s-s to b-a-s-e the foundation. When you look at a building, no one pays attention to the foundation. You can’t have anything without the base.”
A “fluke” is how he ended up being a bassist. The CAPA alumnus says it’s all about that bass for him because of a guy who he called a “pathological liar.” He made a deal with a man who claimed to have 16 guitars and would trade him one in exchange for the radio he had.
“I traded someone a radio for a guitar and I gave the guy a radio. He gave me a bass instead. I just started playing on it just to have fun. I fell in love with it,” Goods, now a resident of New York City, said.
Before the guitar, starting at the age of five, he played a variety of instruments including piano, French horn, and saxophone.
“Three Rivers” is his second album and features a mixture of jazz and funk fusion flavored songs. Goods considers the album released in January to be an homage to his hometown.
“I’m really proud of it. The song with Chris Botti, ‘Four Kings’ is doing well,” Goods said.
Much of the music for Goods company RichMan Music Inc. is conceived at his studio in Westchester, New York. “Richie Goods and Nuclear Fusion, Live at the Zinc Bar” was his first solo project.
(For more information about acclaimed bassist Richie Goods, visit www.richiegoods.net.)
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