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Organ trios are prevalent these days with groups such as the neo-funksters Medeski Martin & Wood and Soulive, post-modern boppers Larry Goldings and Sam Yahel, and continuing offerings from veterans Dr. Lonnie Smith and Joey DeFrancesco. From the greasy grooves of Jimmy Smith to the sophisticated lines of Larry Young, imitators and disciples are continuing the quest to B-3 heaven. Add guitarist Randy Napoleon and organist Jared Gold to the list with their new trio recording Enjoy The Moment.
Centered around New York, Napoleon and Gold join that growing list of capable musicians. They have performed with jazz notables such as bassist Rodney Whitaker, trumpeter Marcus Printup, and pianist Benny Green. They are joined by rising drummer Quincy Davis, whose performance credits include Tom Harrell, Eric Reed, and Cyrus Chestnut.
The music fits nicely with the record’s title. The mood is carefree and evenly balanced, with the right mix of up-tempo and slower pieces. This blend of standards and originals may not break any new ground, but it does provide a collection of entertaining and catchy melodies delivered with style and substance.
Starting off with a little '60s boogaloo on “The Nest,” the trio dishes out the grits with a heavy dose of funky guitar and organ. Things come into a nice swing on the title selection, as Napoleon’s guitar smoothly carries the melody and Gold plays with a finesse that brings the great Larry Young to mind. Napoleon’s sound is light and fluid as he plays with feeling and a sense of exploration. He shines on the lovely ballad “Never Let Me Go,” where every note is delivered with the utmost empathy of the original’s intent.
Jared Gold plays with a skill beyond his years, showing the range of what makes the B-3 a thing of beauty with some nice chord work on “To Have To Lose.” On “Taking a Chance on Love” his bass pedal is spot-on — he carries the rhythm and also spits out a blistering solo. The recording concludes with a funky and memorable version of the Beatles' classic “In My Life,” which also features some nice drum work by Quincy Davis. With the present-day proliferation of jazz organ trios, Enjoy The Moment makes a solid addition to the ranks.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.