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Larry Goldings: Quartet (2006)

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Larry Goldings: Quartet How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Pianist Larry Goldings delivers modern jazz as true art, folding in classical music with traditional jazz themes and interpreting them sincerely. With trumpeter John Sneider, his quartet expresses soulful melodies and surrounds them with beautiful textures. Everything falls into place naturally, and the pianist ensures that not one ounce is wasted on glamour or glitz.

With "Hesitation Blues, he's captured the original spirit that W.C. Handy handed down to us with the birth of the blues. With "Valsinha, he's fused a traditional European theme into the jazz that we feel intuitively. With Bjork's "Cocoon, he's found a path for slow ballad expression that remains timeless.

Goldings explores eclectic paths on this quartet adventure. He navigates slowly, allowing for reflective introspection and couching drama in quiet surroundings. This peaceful celebration of jazz's rich heritage builds to great dramatic highs without becoming overbearing. The pianist and his musical partners keep a low ceiling on the intensity level while still driving. Even the nods to Jaki Byard and Thelonious Monk remain subtle enough to maintain a peaceful composure for the album's personality.

The pianist and his cohesive quartet explore spontaneously and eschew concerns about meter and format. The quartet is traditional in concept but original in practice. The closing number, a duet between trumpet and piano, best displays the spirit of the album. Goldings and Sneider pour heartfelt emotion in song and arrange for it to flow naturally. A seamless concert of passion in jazz, Quartet comes highly recommended and will undoubtedly remain one of the best recordings of 2006.

Track Listing: Singsong; Au Bord de L'eau; Valsinha; The Wedding; Hesitation Blues; Jackie-ing; Dario and Bario; A Dream About Jaki Byard; Cocoon; Hidalgo; Denouement; We Shall Overcome.

Personnel: Larry Goldings: piano, electric piano, organ, harmonium, accordion; John Sneider: trumpet, cornet; Ben Allison: bass; Matt Wilson: drums, percussion; Madeleine Peyroux: vocal (5).

Record Label: Palmetto Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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