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Ned Goold: Reverse Engineer

Tom Greenland By

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Tenor saxophonist Ned Goold's tap runs hot and cool, combining hard bop fire with laid-back, left-coast tonguing and tone. His new release on Smalls Records, March of the Malcontents, is his second for the label and fourth overall as a leader. Unlike his earlier offerings, all pianoless trios á la Sonny Rollins' A Night at the Village Vanguard or Joe Henderson's The State of the Tenor, March features the fluid fingers of pianist Sacha Perry, along with a rhythm team consisting of bassist Neal Caine and drummer/son Charles Goold. The addition of chordal accompaniment affords listeners a new avenue of entry into the saxophonist's overtly cerebral approach, an aesthetic that champions the motivic over the melodic. Goold has developed an original vocabulary: chord progressions that levitate rather than surrender to the earthbound trajectory of the traditional cycle-of-fifths harmony so prevalent in bebop and its progeny, with cadential patterns that resist resolution and, like New Yorkers, are always on the go, anxious to be somewhere else. "Boss Borden, "Goooold and "Make Believe all embody this restless proclivity, concluding their forms through a sort of reverse engineering.

Belying their slurred, offhand delivery, Goold's solos are tightly—even relentlessly—constructed: eighth-note streams of conventional baroque filigree and ornamentation that wind up in unusual places, with unexpected implications. Caine's bass provides a solid towline for Perry's liquid touch and drummer Charles' enthusiastic input. A far cry from his "day job with Harry Connick, Jr., Goold's dates as a leader unveil a uniquely idiosyncratic compositional sense and an inquisitive imagination.

Track Listing: Boss Borden; Paris Waltz; Goooold; Feeding Off the Host (Part 1); I Never Knew; Lovely to Look At; March of the Malcontents; Please; Make Believe; Sour & Ugly; What is This Thing Called Love?; Thus This.

Personnel: Ned Goold: tenor saxophone; Sacha Perry: piano; Neal Caine: bass; Charles Goold: drums.

Title: Reverse Engineer | Year Released: 2007


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