Andrew Gould puts together personal, eclectic songs on “First Things First”


Saxophonist Andrew Gould has assembled a collection of songs that replicate his lived experiences as a working musician in New York City. But it isn’t just the city that inspires – – various musicians (mostly jazz) and different genres of music also influence the music and styles Gould uses on the recording. The songs “The Goulden Ratio,” and “A Song for Millie,” are two varying examples of styles employed on “First Things First.”

About Andrew Gould

Andrew Gould is a native New Yorker. In addition to his work as a saxophonist, Gould is also a composer. In his work as a professional musician, Gould has played with James Moody, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Mambo Legends Orchestra, David Weiss, Ray Vega and many others.

In 2013, Gould was the Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition Semi-Finalist. He has recorded projects for MTV, Universal Music, Warner Bros. Music and others. Certain audiences might have seen Gould’s performances on “The Today Show” and ABC News. He has played at jazz festivals such as Winter JazzFest, The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, and the Bermuda Jazz Festival.

Gould formalized his postsecondary education with music degrees from Manhattan School of Music and SUNY Purchase. In addition to his playing schedule, Gould continues to teach private lessons and masterclasses to students of all levels.

“The Goulden Ratio” by Andrew Gould

The song sustains a frantic pace from the beginning until almost the end. There are some stereotypical jazz motifs here. The drums clatter, the bass moves the song along, and the saxophone reminds listeners of the intensity that should be ascribed to the entire soundscape.

The sound of the track reminds audiences of the busy pace of life in a major city like New York. That the song interprets Gould’s experience with the city makes sense in light of the spelling of the song’s title.

Eventually, the song winds down, just like even the most hectic of days. Gould’s explanation about all the songs’ inspiration fits with this song’s arrangement.

“Song for Millie” by Andrew Gould

This is probably one of the sweeter songs on the CD. Gould categorizes it as a ballad, so its relative tranquility makes sense. At least the inspiration for the song is quite sweet, or some might describe it as quaint. Millie is a dog. Gould doesn’t relay what kind of dog she is, only that she is small, sweet, and timid, and takes her time warming up to new people.

Listening to “Song for Millie” after “The Goulden Ratio” the contrast is obvious. “The Goulden Ratio” is clearly the experience of the pace of the larger world. The interaction with Millie, on the other hand, is a singular experience. The tones are soft, like the way a person would talk to a dog with a shy disposition. Legato saxophones make the soundscape gentle. Behind the saxophone, the bass mumbles a consolation of sorts. Even the drums sound hushed, as they mesh with the piano. During the middle-end of the song, the rhythm picks up a bit, but the gentle mood never changes. It sounds perfect for telling the story of a dog like Millie.

“First Things First” will be available March 30, 2

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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