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Richie Goods and Chien Chien Lu consider what brings us together with their new group, Connected

Richie Goods and Chien Chien Lu, center, are the co-leaders of Connected.
Richie Goods and Chien Chien Lu, center, are the co-leaders of Connected.

“We balance each other out,” says bassist Richie Goods, referring to his partner, the charismatic Taiwanese vibraphonist, percussionist and composer Chien Chien Lu. “We both want each other to be happy and feel good about the music that we’re producing.”

In that spirit, Goods and Lu have a new collaborative project called Connected, which has just released its self-titled debut. The ensemble is scheduled to appear this weekend on the Winter JazzFest Manhattan Marathon, at the Zinc Bar. WRTI is proud to present an in-studio performance by the group — originally featured on our pandemic series @HOME — as an NPR Live Sessions Video of the Week.

Goods and Lu recently expressed to me how the name of their collaboration stems from spending time together in lockdown. During that period, they both struggled to understand why it’s so difficult for people to live in harmony. Their conversations about decades of social injustice in underserved areas, and elevated levels of Asian hate crime, left them confused as they pondered why the world is so divided. They also found that they were composing songs that reinforced togetherness, and the idea that we’re all connected.

Connected, a band jointly led by Richie Goods and Chien Chien Lu.
courtesy of the artist
Connected, a band jointly led by Richie Goods and Chien Chien Lu.

What began as a series of practice sessions organically evolved into Connected. Their initial thought was to perhaps release a single — but as they performed some outdoor concerts and realized that their respective bands featured largely the same musicians, they realized there was more ground to cover, musically and personally. “This whole project is very emotional for me, because it has so much meaning,” Goods adds.
The songs performed in this @HOME video expand on material from Connected’s album. We’re elated to feature a three-song set spotlighting the beautiful connection between two artists who refuse to be separated by language, race or culture.

J. Michael Harrison’s first radio show, WPEB’s “Is That Jazz” launched in June of 1993. In 1994 he began volunteering with WRTI as a production assistant. In 1996, J. Michael debuted his own program, The Bridge, which continues to air Friday evenings on WRTI.