The posthumously released all-star Jeff Golub benefit album, The Vault, brings together reworked and previously unreleased versions of songs the guitarist recorded prior to being diagnosed with the rare brain disease progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in 2014. A debilitating condition, PSP robbed Golub of his eyesight and left the adept, genre-bending blues and jazz musician unable to play his guitar. Tragically, complications from the disease also led to his death in January 2015. Prior to his passing, however, several of Golub's longtime friends and collaborators, including trumpeter Rick Braun, music executive Bud Harner, and producer/engineer Steven Miller, assisted Golub in compiling these tracks. Golub then handpicked many of his favorite artists to add their own contemporary style to the recordings and create something fresh. Although many of the songs on The Vault, such as "Funky Is as Funky Does," off 1994's Avenue Blue and "Groanin'," off 1999's Out of the Blue, will be familiar to Golub's longtime fans, these are not the same tracks featured on the original albums. On the contrary, these are alternate versions reworked with newly recorded additions from such artists as Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Kirk Whalum, Boney James, Jeff Lorber, Gerald Albright, Peter White, Richard Elliot, and others. Released on the heels of a live benefit concert held in New York City to raise funds to pay for Golub's expenses, proceeds from sales of The Vault also go to Golub's family. Ultimately, The Vault works as both a farewell from Golub and a soulful, uplifting tribute to his musical gifts.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar