Jared Gold – Metropolitan Rhythm (Positone)
Blessed with a surname suited to the effortless production of album title puns, organist Jared Gold is admirably no-nonsense when it comes to his music. Golden Child, his fifth recording for the Positone label, remains an outlier with his other projects reflecting resilience in refraining from caving to comedic temptation. The usual suspects are discernible in his B-3 sound, with Don Patterson and Larry Young particularly prevalent forefathers, but Gold brings his own tools to the game as well with a sound enamored of groove, but rarely beholden to it.
Gold’s eighth effort, Metropolitan Rhythm, relies in no small part on that prudent strategy and serves as a vehicle for his working trio with guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Kush Abadey. Stryker’s no stranger to classic organ trio configuration with a large percentage of his voluminous discography given over to the format. Abadey is a comparative newcomer to the New York scene of which Gold and Stryker a part, but he handles his duties behind the kit with a crisp attack and a clear sense of purpose.
Nine tracks take the congenial collective guise of a blowing session with Gold composing four, a single entry form Stryker and the rest given over to covers of varying provenance. “Check-In” is a straightforward mid-tempo burner on the surface, but Gold folds in a surprising break of swirling, nearly atonal sweeps that nod in the direction of Larry Young. Stryker comps warmly behind the leader before working through his own statement with Abadey’s light cymbal play keeping loose time. In contrast, Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” brings practically unavoidable and mostly unflattering AM radio fare comparisons in a finger-snapping, organ-centric incarnation.
Gold regains footing with a fleet foray through Monk’s “Let’s Call This” with shimmering swells once again a principal part of the tonal paint box. Stryker’s amplified notes occupy similar textural space in accenting Gold’s leads, although he gets a bit obvious and flashy in his solo. Once again Abadey holds it all together with pliable tempo shifts and sharp demarcations. A lush gospel detour through “God Has Smiled On Me” gives way to the more exploratory Gold original “Homenagem” with the composer flipping the switches for a ripe and rotund sound over a bustling samba style beat.
“Risco” retains a breezy Brazilian flavor but a verdant ballad pace with Abadey applying light brushwork beneath solos from Stryker and Gold that are saturated in warmly enveloping electricity. A brisk Joe Henderson-penned slice of Blue Note-era hardbop outfitted with finger-abrading solos from Stryker and the leader sets up a closing one-two compositional punch each with Gold’s “In a Daze” out of the gate first. A gradual groover, the piece is a bit sluggish in the opening statement, but it opens up through Gold’s ensuing improvisation. Stryker’s “As Is” caps the set with a return to Latin roots and an up-tempo exit. More silver than gold (sorry, couldn’t resist), this date still has much to recommend it for listeners amenable to the aural pleasures of organ jazz.