Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jared Gold on Posi-tone

I've been listening to more organ music tonight: Jared Gold's All Wrapped Up.  Gold leads a quartet consisting of Ralph Bowen on tenor sax, Jim Rotondi on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Quincy Davis on drums.  The instrument conspicuous by its absence is the bass.  Is it really jazz if there isn't the thump of the bass?

Well, yes.  Gold has a very vigorous strike for an organ player and he has to fill in for the bass when the horns are up front.  He does a good job of that and more.  Gold plays the organ like a catcher plays baseball: he minds his post and manages the field.  The horns are prominent, as God intended, but the organ is always supporting the action.  If you were moving a resolution for more organ in jazz, you would want to introduce this album into evidence.  

Ralph Bowen knows what a saxophone is for.  His solos are brilliant.  I was constantly surprised by his changes and by his sense of where the sweet spot in the melody lies.  Rotondi's horn reminded me of a smoky room many years ago when another horn player reminded of why God made ears.  I won't neglect the drumming, which was flawless and rich.  

But Gold's organ was the interesting thing.  His solo work ranged between soulful singing and the precision of a computer dialing a phone number.  The latter was wonderful on its own, but it highlighted the mood of the former.  

Don't miss All Wrapped Up.  Tell 'em I sent ya. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jemeel Moondock & William Parker: New World Pygmies

I am way behind on my album reviewing.  I have a lot of good stuff from Posi-Tone to review.  I hope to do that properly soon, but my summer schedule is tighter than my fall and spring schedules.  Just right now I am listening to New World Pygmies, a 1999 duet album with Moondoc on alto sax and William Parker on double bass (Eremite Records).  What a fine piece of jazz. 

The music is brilliant, lyrical, and deeply passionate.  It's avant garde, to be sure; however, it is more accessible music than you might expect from these two luminaries.  You will want to listen to it where the background noise is minimal.  You need to be able to hear ever inch of Parker's strings.  The sound is superb, and that is essential on an album like this.  The sheer sound of the instruments is almost a third party to the recording.  

I was able to get New World Pygmies for a reasonable price from Amazon.  What I don't understand is why it's not available in mp3 format.  Since so much music is purchased that way now, any label not getting its music up online is dropping the ball.  Moreover, this is the kind of thing you would have had a hard time finding when CD stores and jazz sections still roamed the Earth.  Give this one a shot.  Tell 'em I sent ya.