Larry Goldings and crew bring the funk in a way you might not be expecting beforehand. I'd run across him before and was sometimes impressed, other times not, but this trio effort will knock you for a loop. I don't know what the guy changed in his breakfast cereals but I need some too. He's bulked up on the muscle, grown a set of fangs, and adopted a wicked grin in his oeuvre and style. The cool-ass intro song, his own Roach, is an almost perplexing blend of mood, pounce, atmospherics, and coolness. Then the gent that no less a guitar god than Jim Hall (to whom the disc is dedicated) cited as the best he ever heard, Pete Bernstein, doubles up with Goldings' Hammond for a set of striking chords before launching into retro-cool lead work. Goldings then pulls all of that to one side and throttles it, exploring the underside like a night surgeon.
Drummer Bill Stewart rolls some leashed thunder beneath him, eliciting squawks and objurgations as fog keeps advancing in the background. Jobim's Luiza follows and gets a great workout from the lead instruuments, an 8 minute cover, Goldings sounding like John Abercrombie tackling a keyboard (I tolya he's changed!), Bernstein brightening things up in a long birdsong solo, boppy with turn of the era finesse. Mr. Meagles launches itself reminding one of Steve Khan's brilliant latinate materials of the last three decades, Bernstein picking slightly dark chords in that same outré-ness blended with earthy tones, Stewart waxing more percussionistic (then Alphonse Mouzony late in the cut).
Goldings decides to dig in and rolls things around once again, a bit ornery and clever as a slit-eyed brainiac. Can't help but dig some of these great song titles too: Ramshackle Serenade and Useless Metaphor are two of the cleverer nomenclatures of the last decade, the latter a Bernstein composition with an offbeat introductory lyricality from Pete that Goldings then whisks onto the dance floor. Hipped, Berstein saunters back into the mix, doubled up in tempo. Stewart swings it all regardless of where his mates want to go. And don't forget the packaging. Someone killed in the art direction department and justly so: this kind of music needs to be visually accommodated to within an inch of its marvelous life. So, yeah, hats off in that respect too, and no matter how you look at it, I think you're going to be surprised by this release.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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