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Victor Gould: Clockwork

Dan Bilawsky By

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There are lots of moving parts that make clocks tick. Each has its own function, harmoniously aligned with the others, and every single one helps to sustain the very concepts of time and flow. The analogy can clearly be drawn from these mechanisms behind timepieces to jazz in general, but it's rarely as obvious to the ears as it is on this album in particular.

Pianist Victor Gould's debut utilizes a variety of large gears, pinions, and regulators to help fashion his own ideas. You just never know who'll be standing in for which of those parts. The high-octane combination of Gould, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer E.J. Strickland is at the center of each scene, but they're joined, at different times, by a variety of other musicians and instruments—saxophones, trumpet, flute, strings, and percussion—which help to create an intricate sonic mesh and add a variety of tonal colors to the mix. It's heady modernistic jazz language and high art rolled into one.

The album opens on the title track, a bubbly Latin cauldron fired and forwarded by the aforementioned trio in cahoots with percussionist Pedrito Martinez. The pieces that follow—"Room," a sunny yet contemplative work in three, and "Chaance," a mellow, strings-enhanced feature that puts the spotlight on Jeremy Pelt's flugelhorn and the composer's piano—stand apart in mood and musical complexion, marking Gould as a composer of great ambition and skill.

While shifting focal points, different emotional tides, and the track-to-track addition and subtraction of musicians all allow the listener to indulge in a variety of musical worlds and fantasies, Gould's voice rings true in each and every one . He excels at every turn, regardless of where those turns may lead. He brilliantly works the beautiful-to-brooding range on the prelude to "Apostle John"; he shows patience and restraint over a throbbing base/bass on that tune proper, standing in stark contrast to the raw intensity that comes from his colleagues; and he delivers a scene-stealer statement full of daring and darting maneuvers on "Blue Dales." It's easy to see what his A-list employers—trumpeter Wallace Roney, drummer Ralph Peterson, and saxophonist Donald Harrison, among others—see in Gould. He's got the musical world on a string, in his mind, and at his fingertips.

Track Listing: Clockwork; Room; Chaance; Clue Dales; The Return; Apostle John (Prelude); Apostle John; Sir Carter (Intro); Sir Carter; Nefertiti; Three Souls.

Personnel: Victor Gould: piano; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet (1-3, 6-8, 11); Godwin Louis: alto saxophone (1-3, 5-8, 11); Myron Walden: tenor saxophone (1-3, 6-8, 11); Anne Drummond: flute (3, 7); Ben Williams: bass (1-5, 7, 9-11); E.J. Strickland: drums (1-5, 7-11); Pedrito Martinez: percussion (1, 4, 7); Yoojin Park: violin (3, 6, 7); Heejin Chang: viola (3, 6, 7); Veronica Parrales: cello (3, 6, 7).

Title: Clockwork | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

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