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An organ-led session by a trio of (relatively) young lions who downplay the pyrotechnics usually associated with such groups in favor of perceptive interplay. Organist Larry Goldings cooks but over a lower flame than, say, Jimmy Smith, Joey DeFrancesco or newcomer Tony Monaco. He and guitarist Peter Bernstein are locked onto each other's radar screen while drummer Bill Stewart keeps everything in motion with a variety of rhythmic appliances from brushes to bass drum. Goldings, who's also a fine pianist, soft-pedals the shock chords and wailing high-register lines favored by his contemporaries and generally assumes a more pianistic posture, preferring to paint in shades of pastel instead using the more garish tones usually associated with the Hammond B-3. An exception is "Gnomesville," on which the colors are brighter and more flamboyant. Bernstein is an able partner, comping proficiently and framing trim single-note solos that are never less than engaging. Would that the trio's choice of material were as strong as its synergy. Eight of the ten selections were written or co-written by members of the group, and there's nothing there to quicken one's ear, even though everything on the menu is well-seasoned. Goldings wrote three of the tunes, collaborated with Bernstein on four others, and Stewart contributed one, the elegiac "Chorale." The more captivating selections (our opinion) are the other two, Burt Bacharach / Hal David's "This Guy's in Love with You" and Rodgers and Hart's "Spring Is Here." Even so, this is a splendid trio date characterized by an uncompromising group ethic and resourceful blowing
Contact: Palmetto Records, 71 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011 (phone 1-800-PALMCDS; www.palmetto-records.com).
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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