Larry Goldings’ organ trio gets down in a hurry on the funky “Crawdaddy,” which introduces the group’s latest recording, its first for Palmetto Records. Goldings, Bernstein and Stewart have been playing together for a decade (that’s close to a century in music–group years) and have arrived at a “Comfort Zone” that must be the envy of less companionable ensembles. In other words, they love playing together, and it shows. Everyone is loose and relaxed, support is always close at hand, and there’s no grandstanding or unseemly flashes of ego to mar the well–oiled session, which consists of half a dozen compositions by Goldings, Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” and Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today.” One of Goldings’ songs, the ballad “Christine,” was written for his wife, to whom the album is dedicated. While each of the tunes is appealing on a cerebral level, there aren’t any that one is likely to be caught humming in an elevator or on the street. The one that comes closest is the suitably named “Comfort Zone,” which swings as hard as anything on the date and includes inspired blowing by all hands. The walking title selection, “Moonbird,” dances in that same easygoing groove with the leader in tip–top form. What Goldings and his colleagues have achieved in their realm is a remarkable balance in which no voice predominates but each one is an indispensable part of the fabric (and while no bass is listed, it sounds for all the world like someone must have sneaked one in the back door). All of the voices are radiant and strong, and together they succeed in making wonderful music together, which is what Jazz is all about. As a bonus (at least on my copy) there’s an unnamed and unexpected ninth track (again, a ballad) that runs for almost three minutes. For admirers of the organ trio, a conclusive winner from start to finish.
Track listing: Crawdaddy; Moonbird; Woodstock; Christine; Empty Oceans; Xoloft; Comfort Zone; I Think It’s Going to Rain Today (54:51).