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Larry Goldings & Bob Ward: Voodoo Dogs

Glenn Astarita By

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Voodoo Dogs is the brainchild of keyboardist Larry Goldings, and established session guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Bob Ward as vibraphonist Joe Locke, saxophonist Tim Ries, drummer Billy Drummond and others lend their distinguished talents to this upbeat affair. And while some might be a bit aghast with this overtly ' radio friendly track mix consisting of 4-5 minute tunes that skirt the edges of jazz/funk, ambient-dub and trance groove genres, the band effectively and quite artfully conveys a party-hearty and altogether vivacious atmosphere. Not a bad thing mind you, however fans of Larry Goldings' might wonder if he has succumbed to commercialism or is just broadening his horizons here.....

Pieces such as 'Keep A Thing Happening' and 'People Unite' are brimming with trance groove rhythms, - voodoo samples ' (Indian Diva vocals, mystical flutes), cool, breezy guitar work by Ward and tasty piano/synth work by Goldings. Throughout, the band melds ' Bill Laswell-style ambient dub beats with subtle EFX and funk/jazz rhythms yet many of these pieces boast affable melodies and catchy hooks upheld by a sharp production and clever arrangements. Vibraphonist Joe Locke executes some soul drenched lines along with saxophonist Tim Ries on the electro-acoustic jazz funk number titled, 'You Dig' as Ward handles the keys, bass, guitars and samples. In some areas, the overall presentation might spark memories of Herbie Hancock's original 'Headhunters' yet the overall mix bespeaks a contemporary vibe. Needless to state these folks were having a blast during the process and it shows!

While not a glowing artistic achievement, Voodoo Dogs is a balanced set performed with tenacity and wit as Larry Goldings adds another well-versed chapter to his blossoming repertoire. And along with Bob Ward's studio savvy and multifaceted musical skills, this rather polished yet relatively ' happening ' set, should (in the proverbial sense) cast a spell over you or at the very least ' liven your spirits as blushing innocence counters forthright genre hopping!

* * * ' (out of * * * * *)

For additional details please check the 'Palmetto Records' website at: www.palmetto-records.com

Title: Voodoo Dogs | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Palmetto Records

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