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CD Review Larry Goldings

Larry Goldings - Quartet

Palmetto Records
CD Review By Scott Homewood

While many jazz organ fans think the saviour of the Hammond B-3 is Joey DeFrancesco, I feel those fans need to check out this new album by Larry Goldings and re-consider their options. And, before the boo-birds get started, I want to say I have nothing against DeFrancesco. I own many of his albums and have given him plenty of good reviews over the years, reviews I sincerely think he deserves. It's just, after comparing the two, DeFrancesco seems locked into more of the retro feel of B-3 legends Jimmy McGriff and Brother Jack McDuff than Goldings, who obviously prefers the experimentation of the most innovative of organists, Larry Young. In short, DeFrancesco seems tied to the past while Goldings' vision seems locked on the future.
No doubt there is room for both styles as tons of jazz fans enjoy the music from the groove heyday of the '60's when B-3 groove jazz was at it's peak and the world was a simpler place while there are equally as many jazz aficianados who eschew that style and wish the myriad B-3 players would release more innovative jazz with substance. But, if you're thinking of the future of the Hammond as an instrument in jazz, there is only one name able to rise to the top and that is Goldings. Not only does he bridge the gap between the past, present and the possible future of the B-3 in a way DeFrancesco is simply incapable of doing, but his innovative ideas and phrasing show great promise for the organ to rise above the juke joint music it is frequently perceived as representing and make it's mark in post-bop jazz music stronger than ever before.
It doesn't hurt that Goldings has surrounded himself with players as equally innovative as himself: trumpeter/cornetist John Sneider, acoustic bassist Ben Allison, and drummer Matt Wilson. Seasoned vets all, they provide sympathetic support and a willingness to explore whatever path Goldings sets up for them, no matter what instrument Goldings decides to use to satisfy his muse and lead the way. Which brings up another reason Goldings' talent seperates him from most of his B-3 brethren: his skill on the acoustic piano. Like Shirley Scott, Goldings is as facile and expressive on the piano as he is on the Hammond and his piano work (as well as the touches of harmonium and accordion Goldings throws in every now and then) adds a eclecticism to the recordings that always keeps them interesting. It is this adventurousness that adds to the recording and keeps it fresh for listeners who might get tired of an album filled with the same kind of organ jams some B-3 players pad their albums with. One can also never accuse Goldings of dragging out tired standard after tired standard. Goldings' choices of material is always fresh and when he does re-visit a song heard before, he does so in an way that makes the song seem as if it was just written. I mean, the man can even find some inspiration in Björk 's "Cocoon," for chrissakes - that's got to say something about his talent.
Anyone interested in the sound of the Hammond organ and it's use in inventive jazz music is encouraged to check this album out. It is sure to open your mind.



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