Torsten Gutknecht was born in 1980 in Düsseldorf, the son of a German father and an Irish mother.
The family moved to Erlangen, Germany, where Torsten grew up. Thanks to his mother’s well-
stocked record collection, which included Irish folk songs alongside jazz greats ranging from Duke
Ellington to Oscar Peterson, Gutknecht found an early access into the world of jazz. His first steps as
a guitarist, however, were typically influenced by rock and pop. When he was 14 Gutknecht began to study in earnest. At the age of 17 he found a teacher who could instruct him in the intricacies of improvised music, the acclaimed guitarist Peter O’Mara. Torsten was 17 at the time, and his talent and enthusiasm were obvious. This quickly helped to get him into master classes with some of the greats of the guitar fraternity. While he was still in school he attended workshops given by Jim Hall and John Scofield in New York, and took lessons with the virtuoso gypsy guitarist Bireli Lagrene in
This last experience was a major influence on his development.
In 2001 as a 20 year old Gutknecht travelled to New York with a stipend to study at the prestigious New York New School where he studied with Jack Wilkins and Vic Juris. But it was even more important for Torsten to plunge into the musical life of the “Big Apple”. He worked with Seleno Clarke, Barbara Tucker, Reverend Run (from Run DMC), and met George Benson, a major influence who inspired Gutknecht to sing along with his playing. He was also able to perform with guitar legend Les Paul, who also gave him his artist name “Torsten Goods”.
Before his stay in New York, Goods had been working with no less energy and determination in Germany. In 2000 he became a member of the German Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Peter Herbolzheimer, and shortly thereafter – before his graduation – he recorded the first album under his own name, in 2001, “Manhattan Walls” (Jardis), with Tony Lakatos, Davide Petrocca, Dejan Terzic, Guido May, Jan Eschke, Andreas Kurz, and Rick Keller.
In 2004 there followed “Steppin” (Jazz4ever). His band at that time, which consisted of Jan Miserre, Marco Kühnl, and Christoph Huber, was augmented by crack German players Olaf Polziehn, Martin Gjakonovski, Dejan Terzic, Tony Lakotos, Johannes Enders, and Lutz Häfner. The album was nominated for the German Record Critics’ Award, and international critics acclaimed Goods as an “emerging new force in the jazz scene“.
Shortly after, in 2005 Goods was the only European to be chosen by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter for the final round of the “Thelonious Monk Jazz Guitar Competition” in Washington D.C. Since then Torsten Goods has been touring extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the USA. During this period he has worked with the likes of Bob James, Chris Potter, James Genus, Terri Lyne Carrington, Barbara Tucker, Dawn Tallman, Marcus Fugate, Jimmy Bruno, John Ruocco, Johannes Faber, Leszek Zadlo and Patrick Scales.
In 2006 Goods began to work exclusively as an artist for ACT. His ACT debut, “Irish Heart” on which he delves into his Irish roots, marked a decisive breakthrough: not only did it
introduce him wider public, first and foremost he became recognized as a singer. Goods is not only equipped with a virtuoso guitar technique – he also has an exceptionally sensitive and expressive singing voice that is at home with the blues as well as swing and pop. The “Irish Heart” tour took him through not only Germany, it also brought him invitations to some of the major European festivals such as the Paris Jazz Festival, Jazz Baltica, the Leverkusen Jazz Days, Burghausen Jazz Weeks, JazzKaar Estonia, the Pure Jazz Festival in Den Haag, the Traumzeit-Festival and Competitions in Brussels as well as the London International Jazz Competition, the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition, and the European Guitar Award in Dresden.
With his second ACT album, “1980”, Goods once again substantially extends the range of his music. With adaptations of the works of outstanding artists from 1980 (the year Goods was born) along with his own compositions, Goods follows on the tracks of such great jazz guitarists and singers as Al Jarreau and Michael Bublé.
In June 2013 the long-awaited fifth album “Love Comes To Town” was released on
ACT. The new CD was produced by Nils Landgren. Besides him other well-known guests like Till Brönner, Wolfgang Haffner, Magnus Lindgren, Ida Sand and Viktoria Tolstoy appear on the album.
On “Love Comes To Town” Torsten Goods refers to his musical roots in blues, jazz and R&B while simultaneously focusing on the future as a matured artist. The album was well received in Germany for its groovy pop jazz-sound that was even compared to George Benson. (Press release)
And here´s his second solo-alum:
After his album “Steppin'”, which was nominated for the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik”, the young Torsten Goods from Erlangen presents another musical masterpiece. Excellently recorded and rearranged classics meet Irish traditionals and original compositions by the artist. I find the latter particularly successful. With the traditionals, the half-breed Torsten Goods skilfully ties in with his Irish roots. The cover versions are also very successful, although there are too many of them (!!!) on the album, which should not please the jazz police at all, especially since the whole thing seems to be pressed into a stiff corset, which, on the other hand, should probably be the purpose of a concept album like “Irish Heart” (compare Viktoria Tolstoy’s “My Swedish Heart”). Vocally, Torsten Goods sings and skats his way skilfully through all the highs and lows with his pleasantly warm voice. Till Brönner will have to dress warmly. His playing is excellent, the harmony between the musicians can also be heard.
Stylistically, however, Goods has distanced himself from his Afro-American idols such as George Benson with this album, but this is to be seen as positive, as he shows with this album how versatile he is. If you are inclined towards pop-jazz, you will like Torsten Goods. With Kristiina Tuomi, the new high-flyer in the German jazz Olympus. The only shortcomings: the aforementioned strict repertoire selection with a high proportion of covers, which is probably due to the new record company Goods is now signed to, and perhaps the less than successful cover photo, in which the otherwise cheerful and open Torsten Goods looks very gloomy. But that is a matter of taste. (Grimbold)
Torsten Goods (guitar, vocals)
Christoph Huber (drums)
Marco Kühnl (bass)
Jan Miserre (keyboards)
Max Grosch (violin, viola bei 02.)
Henning Sieverts (cello bei 02.)
Julian Wasserfuhr (flugelhorn bei 03.)
The Jürgen Neudert Big Band (bei 04., 06., + 10.)
01. Sweet North (Goods) 4.43
02. No Religion (Morrison) 5.20
03. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? (Morrison) 5.29
04. Moondance (Morrison) 4.23
05. She Moved Through The Fair (Traditional) 4.23
06 The End Of The Line (Goods) 3.58
07. Carrickfergus (Traditional) 7.05
08. What Makes The Irish Heart Beat (Morrison) 4:16
09. Riverdance (Whelan) 6.42
10. I’m Gonna Go Out Fishing (Goods) 2.55
11. The Londonderry Air (Traditional) 4.28