The title suggests re-entry after a hiatus but that’s not the case with Jared Gold’s ninth album. Yet, there is a method to it, given that Gold’s prior work appears on the Posi-Tone label, better known for radio friendly tracks than fully conceived albums. Perhaps we could also think of the title in terms of the renewing interest in organ trios, not long ago rendered by many to the glory days of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and the like. Gold is on the vanguard of a new generation of organists working today and his work is being recognized for his creative harmonics and smooth flowing grooves.
Along with guitarist and producer Dave Stryker, drum legend Billy Hart (who began with Jimmy Smith in the ‘60s) is aboard with emerging trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, who graces three tracks. The nine are a combination of Gold originals and a wide mix of others that range from Gershwin to Ornette Coleman with The Beatles and Stevie Wonder in there too.
Gold comes with a rich pedigree. He’s played in New York for years alongside Oliver Lake and the late John Abercrombie. While making eight previous albums as a leader, he’s been a sideman on countless projects, earning him a recent win as the Top Rising Star Organist in Downbeat. He’s played in Stryker’s band for eight years too and their chemistry is palpable here.
Immediately one senses this is different than the usual organ trio sound where the customary horn is a sax. Instead, Pelt introduces the opening blues-based title track, with Gold supporting with chords and bass lines as Hart pushes them both. Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So” features Stryker as the main soloist as Gold offers his own creative improvisations, channeling both Richard “Groove” Holmes and the rapid note fire of Larry Young, building to crescendo at the close. As is Stryker’s wont on his own records, the trio tackles two pop tunes to mix it up –Stevie Wonder’s “Looking for Another Pure Love” with Pelt blowing the melody, and The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home.”
Tempo picks up for Gold’s heartfelt original dedicated to guitarist Abercrombie, “One for John A.,” the third one to feature Pelt’s horn. The trio returns to Gershwin for the slow burning “How Long Has This Been Going On,” eschewing the typical bossa nova shtick for a deep soul treatment instead. The most overt blues though is Ornette Coleman’s “Blues Connotation” where Gold uses all registers of the keyboard and explores some different rhythms as Hart uses the cymbals to great effect in supporting both Gold’s and Stryker’s solos.
Gold often still plays in various New Jersey churches and calls upon that background for his arrangement of the gospel tune “Sweet Sweet Spirit.” He closes with the Stryker penned “Nomad,” turning the spotlight to Hart, who played on Stryker’s first record in 1968. Also, the simpatico playing of Gold and Stryker is best exemplified on this piece.
Here’s hoping that the partnership between Stryker and Gold continues and that more folks get to hear Gold’s talent this time around.
- Jim Hynes