Jared Gold - Out of Line (2010)
Maybe it's just me, but I think we're in the midst of a full-fledged revival in jazz organ, led by a newer generation of players who have gone beyond mimicking the tried and true voicings of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Richard Groove" Holmes. In that group of innovative new B-3 specialists I'd include Larry Goldings, Sam Yahel, John Medeski, Neal Evans and Gary Versace. Recently, I've come across another fresh face who I believe in merely two years into his recording career as a leader should be included in this impressive group of Young Lions of the jazz organ.
And his name is Jared Gold.
I first got my taste of Gold's organ when Dave Stryker's The Chaser came out in 2006, one of a handful of sideman recordings from Gold before he started making his own records. On that session, Gold did quite well playing in the McDuff vernacular, which was a great fit for the leader who was himself once McDuff's guitarist. Not only had Gold become part of Stryker's organ trio, but he's also worked with John Abercrombie, Jon Gordon, Oliver Lake, Adam Nussbaum, Jimmy Ponder, Ralph Bowen, and Cecil Brooks III, among other big name cats.
Signed to Posi-Tone Records, a label with a reputation for sniffing out great new talent, Gold released Solids & Stripes in 2008, followed by Supersonic in 2009. Last week came the arrival of his third, Out Of Line.
Out Of Line is a progression from the mighty fine Supersonic; not a huge leap, but a steady expansion of his craft. There's five originals this time, compared to only three in the prior album. It's still an organ/guitar/drums trio format for most tracks, but saxophonist Chris Cheek makes it a quartet for a few cuts. The drummer and guitarist are new, too: Mike Ferber and Stryker, respectively.
Gold continues and even builds on his ability to extend the harmonics of a tune. He isn't a balls-out burner; he uses the organ to enhance the sound of a song. To Gold, that doesn't always equate to dazzle, it just means he will not flaunt technique merely for the sake of doing so.
The covers do the songs great justice. On Supersonic, Gold was able to tackle an organ jazz favorite like Angel Eyes" and make it his own without losing a firm connection to the soul of the original. This time around, Gold takes on two R&B classics that are anything but going through the motions. For the Del-Fonics hit La-La (Means I Love You)" he makes excellent use of swells to modulate the mood, and his solo is bang on. Stevie Wonder's You Haven't Done Nothin'" gets a lift from Stryker's funky rhythm guitar, while Gold slows down the tempo and slyly substitutes a couple of chords, making the melody get a little darker than it already is. Hank Mobley's An Apertif" shows what Gold is capable of within a burning, post-bop arrangement, always playing with a cool demeanor whether on a solo or accompanying Cheek's own solo.
Gold's abilities at composing have taken some strides on this album: the smokey Down South" has a vaguely gospel tint to it, but doesn't really ape gospel. Within this context he creates a urbane theme played together with Stryker, who peels off and plays clean, soulful lines, followed by Gold playing with some passion, but always in control. Preachin,'" despite its name, isn't a gospel number, either, but it's uplifting melody supplies the basis of more superb playing by Stryker. The Stone Age" is a cool-as-night piece with slinky harmonics, a perky rhythm section and a well-constructed solo by Cheek.
So are we experiencing another golden age of organ jazz? Perhaps, but for certain we're now three albums into the Jared Gold Era, and with another shining collection like Out Of Line, it's an era I wouldn't mind see lasting for a long time.