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lucid culture reviews Jared Gold “Golden Child”…

Jared Gold Pushes the B3 Envelope

In a way, organist Jared Gold is to the Posi-Tone label what Willie Dixon was to Chess: he seems to be on practically all their records. And why not? He’s a good player, and he’s literally never made a bad album. His fifth as a bandleader, Golden Child, has been out for a few months: fans of organ jazz who’re looking for something imaginative and different should check out this unpredictable effort, by far his most original and cutting-edge album to date. His 2010 album Out of Line was 60s vamps; All Wrapped Up, from 2011, was a diverse effort with horns that explored swing, noir and New Orleans styles. This album finds him pushing the envelope a la Larry Young without referencing Young directly: it’s about as far from “Chicken Shack music” as you can possibly get. How radical is this? Rhythmically, most (but not all) of this is familiar B3 grooves, Gold walking the pedals with a brisk precision over drummer Quincy Davis’ terse shuffles; tunewise, a lot of this is pretty far out there. Track after track, Gold defiantly resists resolution, pushing consonance away in favor of an allusive, sometimes mysterious melodic language that changes vernacular constantly. Gold doesn’t stay with any particular idea long – a typical song here goes from atmospherically chordal to bits of warped blues phrasing, hammering staccato atonalities and momentary cadenzas in the span of thirty seconds or less. Guitarist Ed Cherry is the cheery one here and makes an apt foil for Gold, holding the melodic center, such that it is.

The slowly shuffling, syncopated opening take of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come takes the same liberties with the melody that Cooke would take with the rhythm when he sang it live: much of it is unrecognizable, and for the better, it’s not like we need another slavishly reverential cover of this song. The album closes with the most off-center cover of When It’s Sleepy Time Down South you’ll ever hear: although it swings, Satchmo himself might not recognize it. And Gold reinvents Johnny Nash’s cloying rocksteady hit I Can See Clearly Now with more than a little gleeful irony: this twisted reworking is nothing like what you hear in the supermarket. Gold starts with a particularly abrasive setting on the organ, hints at the blues, abruptly shifts from major to minor, all along peppering his digressions with fragments of the original as Cherry pulls it in the direction of Memphis soul (a style he mines here very memorably). The first of the Gold originals, Hold That Thought develops with a vivid sense of anticipation that never delivers any expected payoff, Davis’ flurrying breaks adding to the tension. The title track is all allusion: an out-of-focus ballad, unsettling rhythmic shifts, a nicely casual but biting, chromatically-charged Cherry solo and refusenik blues by Gold. Their cover of Wichita Lineman goes for wide-angle angst for a second before taking the theme in and out a la the Johnny Nash track, over and over before Cherry finally brings it into momentary focus right before the end.

Cherry’s tastefully terse blues and Memphis phrasing serve as sweetness versus Gold’s atonalities on another original, 14 Carat Gold, a sardonic midtempo soul strut. Likewise, their takes on a spiritual, I Wanna Walk and a bit later, In a Sentimental Mood both take familiar tropes and warp them, Gold simply refusing to hit the changes head on: and then, on the Ellington, just as it looks like it’s going to be all weird substitutions and no wave, Cherry dives in with aplomb and sends it out with a jaunty chordal crescendo over Davis’ mini-hailstorm. Underneath the persistent melodic unease, there’s a lot of ironic humor here, most obviously on the practically frantic Times Up, Gold’s pedals sprinting nimbly in 5/4 and then cleverly shifting the tempo straight ahead, Cherry walking through the raindrops, Davis finally getting some space to play sniper, so he machineguns it. It’s a fair bet that years from now, organists will be citing this album as an important moment in the history of the genre – and the devious fun these guys are having becomes more apparent with repeated listening.

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Some props for Posi-Tone at Gallery 41….

FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2012

Just a few of the great new releases….

Focusing on just a few of the really terrific new releases, this time from Positone Records produced by Marc Free:Pianist Orrin Evans has a terific new trio date called “Flip The Script” with Ben Wolfe on bass and Donald Edwards playing the drums.

Flip The Script

Saxophonist Ralph Bowen’s new release is “Total Eclipse” and features Bowen in the company of organist Jared Gold, Rudy Royston on drums, and the marvelous guitar playing of Mike Moreno.

Total EclipseBrandon Wright on saxophone is joined by David Kikoski piano, Boris Kozlov bass, and Donald Edwards on drums on Brandon’s second recording as leader called “Journeyman”.


Come on by and share the music with us whenever you can!

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Another review for Ralph Bowen “Total Eclipse”…

RALPH BOWEN“Total Eclipse”
(Posi-Tone Records)
Blue Note Records gave Canadian saxman Ralph Bowen his big break in 1985 by putting him in Out of the Blue, a sextet of hard-bopping young lions that included Kenny Garrett, Ralph Peterson and Charles Fambrough. Now 27 years later, Bowen links up with another set of young lions, and the result is the most exciting release of Bowen’s four-year run with Pos-i-Tone, the successor to Blue Note as the No. 1 purveyor of straight-ahead jazz. Spurred on by Jared Gold’s ram-tough Hammond B3 and Mike Moreno’ssingular guitar sound, Bowen is blowing hard and nasty on the opening title track, and he keeps throwing fastballs throughout the date. Moreno and Gold strut their nasty solo stuff on “Behind the Curtain” and “On Green,” while Rudy Royston’sstatus as one of the genre’s best young drummers gets yet another boost. “Total Eclipse” has the combination of artistry and toughness trad jazz needs to stay relevant. Props to Bowen for not standing pat.

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Midwest Record reviews “Heads or Tales”…

TOM TALLITSCH/Heads or Tales: Not only a jazzbo but a bleeding heart liberal as well since he uses music to cut through autism at his various school and clinic work. He’s also one killer, mainstream sax man as well. Here we find Posi-Tone working on developing their house sound as label mate Jared Gold is heating up the B3 chair doing his part to keep this quartet working in overdrive. Tasty stuff throughout that is going to push Tallitsch into that spot where he has to decide between teaching and touring. Hot stuff that’s going to find him less and less of a well kept secret every day. Check it out.


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Karl Stark reviews Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

Organ jazz, which has deep roots in Philly, often veers close to R&B or hard bop. Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch, a Cleveland native who has taught at the Philadelphia Clef Club, takes organ jazz in a cool modernist direction, making this quartet session smart and dark. Tallitsch, a jazz radio host on Mercer County Community College’s WWFM HD2, also runs a music-tutoring business in Princeton. Intimations of organ jazz’s soul roots emerge on “Tenderfoot,” but that becomes context for deeper explorations, fueled by drummer Mark Ferber. The set of originals often crackles with unexpected combustion. Organist Jared Gold creates some edgy effects on “Double Shot,” while guitarist Dave Allen plumbs a more cosmic mode on the smoky ballad “Perry’s Place.” Tallitsch & Co. sometimes play with sounds. The organ effects on “Dunes” feel like the Shore.


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Tim Niland writes up Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch looks to demonstrate his talent as player and a composer on his debut for Posi-Tone Records. He is accompanied by Dave Allen on guitar, Jared Gold on organ and Mark Ferber on drums. The album is made up of original compositions and one interesting cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” which is taken as a stately ballad with melodic saxophone leading the way. Among the original compositions, the opener “Coming Around” has a swinging medium tempo feeling with Tallitsch’s saxophone sailing over organ bursts and a fluid guitar solo. Switching to a faster pace, “Double Shot” features light textured saxophone improvising over the music before the organ, bass and drums unit gets their turn setting the leader up for a ripe concluding solo. Drums open “Flat Stanley” setting the stage for Gold’s organ to fill in with a quasi funky feeling. Tallitsch’s saxophone does a little strutting, keeping with the loose feeling of the song. “Travel Companion” reverts to a medium tempo with the full band improvising on the melody. Gold makes long tones on the organ before building to a flashy solo and Allen makes his mark here as well probing and embellishing on his solo. This was a solid album, definitely worth looking into if you are a fan of modern mainstream jazz. The music is straight ahead and focused on melodic improvisations and remains quite accessible.

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Midwest Record reviews Jared Gold “Golden Child”….

JARED GOLD/Golden Child: Dead solid perfect jazz, organ trio that’s right in the pocket and absolutely captures the back in the day groove so well that Jimmy Smith is probably right now thinking he’s found his worthy successor. Uber groovy without an ounce of hipster, self congratulatory vibe anywhere on it. This is the bomb, circa 2012. If you’re any kind of a B3 fan. Gold will not disappoint on this must have recording. And if you aren’t any kind of a B3 fan, it’s time for you to get hip with this as your guide. It’s the most, daddio!

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Another nice review for Ralph Bowen “Total Eclipse”…

Saxophonist Ralph Bowen has carved out a fine niche for himself on the mainstream jazz scene as an educator at Rutgers University, and as a recording artist. This is a fine mainstream jazz hard-bop recording where Bowen is performing with Jared Gold on organ, Mike Moreno on guitar and Rudy Royston on durms. Switching to the organ format makes for an interesting album, focusing the music on meat and potatoes mainstream jazz is the order of the day here, and straight-ahead jazz fans should be quite satisfied by this offering. Fellow Posi-Tone recording artist Jared gold keeps the organ bubbling and purring and under-rated guitarist Moreno plays very well. Royston keeps the beat moving throughout, keeping everybody on track and pushing and pulling at will. Bowen has a patient and reverent sound on tenor making for a very impressive performance. Fans of solid mainstream jazz will enjoy this quite a bit, Bowen has an excellent pedigree as a leader and a sideman with the like of Horace Silver and many others, and this is another fine addition to his discography.

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OutsideInsideOut writes up Ralph Bowen “Total Eclipse”…

Marc Free’s Posi-Tone Records is one of a handful of labels that churns out a significant number of quality albums on a regular basis.  In the past couple of months the label has sent numerous new releases my way, so today I’m hitting you with a multi-part rundown of some of my favorites.

I reviewed tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen’s last album, Power Play, in Downbeat.  In that review I compared Bowen’s sick chops and certain stylistic elements to Brecker, and thought his soprano approach was slightly reminiscent of Branford – comparisons which earned me a reaming out in a letter to the editor, even though it was a positive review.  Bowen’s followup to that album is Total Eclipse, which features Posi-tone mainstay Jared Gold on organ, guitarist Mike Moreno, and drummer Rudy Royston.  While I stand by my review of Power Play, I find Bowen’s playing on Total Eclipse(whether on tenor or soprano) to be extremely focused, sharp, swinging and reminding me of only one player: Ralph Bowen.

Bowen penned all nine of the hour long album’s tracks.  The title track opens the album in an easy, swinging fashion, with Bowen mixing up phrase lengths, rhythms and articulation and accent patterns – slinking, sliding, and winding his way through his solo.  On his brief solo Gold mixes a slightly percussive phrases based on short note values with  longer and more held out phrases, building upon Bowen’s statement nicely.  “The Dowsing Rod” features Bowen on soprano and is one metrically tricky trip, having sections in 10, in 3 and in 4.  Moreno sounds particularly good on this track, letting his slightly reverby sound and relaxed phrasing glide over Gold and Roysten.  The penultimate cut, “Hip Check,” is a rowdy and rocking showcase for Bowen’s aggressive tenor.  Royston holds things down with a slight backbeat and forward driving cymbals and Gold backs up Bowen’s solo by mixing up long sustained chords with quick jabs.  Moreno’s solo, supported by a very active Royston, is for the most part quite understated, providing a nice contrast to Bowen’s fire.

Overall Total Eclipse is an excellent outing that displays tight group playing, swinging charts containing a ton of craft and subtle hipness, and soloists who bring a firey intensity and creativity.  If you dig other releases on Posi-tone, or are a Ralph Bowen fan, then definitely check this CD out.  And if you’re not familiar with either, this album would be a great place to start.

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StepTempest reviews Ralph Bowen “Total Eclipse”…

Total Eclipse“, the 4th Posi-Tone Records release fromRalph Bowen, has much to recommend it. Just look at the group Bowen plays with; the fine young organist Jared Gold, the supple guitarist Mike Morenoand the splendid drummerRudy Royston. Powered by the drummer (who, in the last few years, has worked with saxophonist JD Allen, bassist Ben Allison, guitarist Bill Frissell, bassist Linda Oh and so many more), this music seems to surge forward. His relentless drive on “Hip Check” really propels the band (the leader lays down his most high-powered solo of the set) while his increasing intensity on the title track (you can download it below) spurs everyone to really dig in.  Yet, his subtle touch paired with Gold’s creative accompaniment on “On Green” complement the fine solos of Moreno and the leader.  Then, there is Gold who continues to impress with his overall work.  As an accompanist, he reminds me of the late Larry Young in his early Blue Note days.  He’s quite impressive throughout but no more so than on “Exosphere” where his background work is essential to the forward motion of the tune.  Yes, he’s got “soul” in his phrases, blues in his sounds, but his solos are jazz to the core, explorations that go in unexpected but smart directions.   Moreno is a solid partner to Bowen on the front line, his “round” yet sometime “sharp’ sound playing off the burbling organ and hearty tenor saxophone.  He understands how to build a solo, often starting out experimenting with a counter-melody then digging into the groove and pushing the intensity (all this is quite noticeable on “Arrows of Light.”)

As for Ralph Bowen, he luxuriates and flourishes in these sounds.  His tenor sounds quite relaxed yet also quite focused. The 9 tracks, all Bowen originals, feel fresh, taking influences from all parts of the jazz world (hard-bop, funk, touches of Latin rhythms) and creating good music.  The sweet melody of “In My Dreams“, the only true ballad on the CD, brings to mind soul music from the 1970s while “Into TheCity” is “funk-swing” at its best.   Bowen plays some solid soprano sax on “The Dowsing Rod“, his handsome tones and lyrical solo giving way to the more “stinging” sounds of Moreno’s guitar.

Play “Total Eclipse” from beginning to end and you’ll hear 4 musicians not only having a great time but also making adult music of the first order.  “Adult”, in that is not “dumbed-down” for commercial success but that it is playful, inspired, fully realized and involves the listener on many levels.  Ralph Bowen continues to produce really good music – don’t hide your eyes or ears from this “..Eclipse.”