Larry Goldings

As One

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Larry Goldings' trio has developed one of the most identifiable sounds in jazz today, and this album is another worthy chapter in the band's history. Like the previous year's Moonbird, the mood here is bluesy and groove-oriented yet understated and mellow. (The trio tends to get way more hot and heavy in a live setting.) Together with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart, the young organist navigates a varied set, moving from easygoing swing on "Mixed Message" to 6/8 hard bop on "Going to Meet the Man" (check out what is almost surely a chordal sequence borrowed from Steely Dan's "Negative Girl") to grooving R&B on "Back in the Day." Bernstein's singing, poignant guitar lines on the latter and on the standard "The Thrill Is Gone" are superb, although there's a certain sameness in terms of solo rotation and dynamics within these first four tracks. Goldings wisely shakes things up with Carla Bley's fast, unorthodox blues "Calls." He then takes a left turn with the enigmatic, rubato title track before tackling the seemingly obligatory '60s cover, this time the Zombies' "Time of the Season" (on Moonbird it was Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock"). Bill Stewart's excellent "Mynah" follows, its cyclical three-bar phrases setting up a kind of faux-electronica feel that vaguely recalls what Goldings was after on Voodoo Dogs, his collaboration with Bob Ward. To finish up, Goldings offers a brief solo organ piece titled "Glass," which like the title track reveals Goldings' skill at creating sonic textures out-of-tempo. Aside from sleepy spots here and there, As One is another intelligent, highly accessible offering from Goldings, who continues to become more refined and creative with each album.

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