If a single word is needed to describe Out Of Line, organist Jared Gold's third album as leader, then that word is cool. If two words are required, they're laid back, for this is a late-night groove sort of a record, where the band seldom tries to break sweatwith the notable exception of Hank Mobley's "An Aperitif"but creates, instead, a smooth, relaxed feel that relies on delicate interplay.
Drummer Mark Ferber keeps firm control of the music's core with some subtle yet swinging playingexemplified by his percussion on "Down South" and "The Stone Age." This leaves the front line free to interact with each other, confident that the music will always have a strong and clear center.
With no bassist on the date Gold takes on responsibility for the bottom enda job he does efficiently, but there is a resultant lack of the variation, swing and feel that a bassist can bring to a session. As a lead instrumentalist Gold keeps his organ sound consistent across the album, but is adept at varying the moods he creates. Guitarist Dave Stryker, a veteran of organist Jack McDuff's group, and saxophonist Chris Cheek are sympathetic band mates; when all three play together, on the relatively up-tempo "The Stone Age," each instrument skillfully complements the others.
Gold writes mellow, spacious, tunes that give the musicians room to breathe. Stryker contributes a crisp single note solo to "Down South" and a more rounded, warmer one on the bluesy "Preachin.'" Cheek excels on "The Stone Age" and the loose, reflective "It Is Well."
Gold opens Thom Bell's "La-La (Means I Love You)" with a real gospel feel to his chordal playing, before sharing the melody line with Stryker. The song is undoubtedly popular, but it has less to offer as an instrumental and, despite the musicians' best efforts, lacks substance. Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'" is a stronger tune, and Gold and Stryker turn it into a slow-burning, slinky number with none of the suppressed anger of Wonder's own version.
Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" might have been covered countless times, but Gold brings a new perspective to the tune with a mid-tempo, Latin-inflected, arrangement featuring a throaty tenor sax solo from Cheek. It's the funkiest tune on the album, and gives Ferber the chance to finally break out with a solo of his own, yet it still fits readily within the gentle and relaxed grooves that characterize Out Of Line.
An Aperitif; Preachin'; Out Of Line; You Haven't Done Nothin'; It Is Well;
Down South; The Stone Age; La-La (Means I Love You); Skylark.
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