PITTSBURGH NATIVE RICHIE GOODS GOT HIS START playing gospel and driving the groove for hometown funk bands before studying upright and electric bass at Berklee. After taking lessons with jazz masters Ron Carter and Ray Brown in New York, Goods went on to work with pop divas Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera, and hip-hop heavies Common and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. On the jazz side, Richie has played with guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Mulgrew Miller. He now splits his time among performances with his band Nuclear Fusion, pianist Michael Wolff, Headhunters, the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, and drummer Lenny White. He’s one of three bassists—along with Stanley Clarke and Victor Bailey—on White’s forthcoming CD.
Why are you so drawn to fusion?
The ’70s was my favorite era in music. I love almost everything that was going on then—R&B, rock & roll, and jazz. I’m trying to get a different audience to start listening to jazz, especially young people. The music we do appeals to them, because it’s funky, has some rock, and has a lot of energy.
What do you want listeners to take away from your performances?
I want to make people feel something. Ever since I was five, people have been telling me that I sounded good. To me, that’s not a huge compliment. A huge compliment is when someone comes up and tells me that I made them feel a certain way. That’s what music is all about.
Is that approach rooted in your early gospel work?
I learned to play by playing piano in the church. The whole Baptist experience is very emotional. I try, through my groove and the bass line, to make people feel something. It’s serious, to me.
HEAR HIM ON
Michael Wolff, Joe’s Strut [Wrong, 2009]; Richie Goods and Nuclear Fusion, Live at the Zinc Bar [Richman Productions, 2008]; Louis Hayes, Maximum Firepower [Savant, 2006]
Basses Fender Victor Bailey Jazz Bass with medium DR Black Beauties; circa-1860 e-size German flatback with Thomastik Spirocore orchestra gauge strings, French bow, and Fishman Full Circle pickup
Rig SWR SM-400 head; SWR Goliath 4x10 cabinet