Chill jazz? No...And for the record, I never review vibe. Jared Gold's Posi-Tone debut is skillfully crafted with harmonics that can start and stop on a dime. Solids & Stripes is packed for of dynamic versatility abd not many organ players twenty years his senior could pump out such a stellar release now much less a debut release. Do not let soulful covers like O-O-H Child fool you into thinking this is perhaps a more advanced version of smooth jazz - not even close. Gold's Posi-Tone debut is an organic mix of soul, rhythm and blues and straight ahead jazz done with the subtlty of a master craftsman. This formidable 4tet drives a stake through the heart of those expecting something closer to a swingless exploratory throught the arbitrary sonic hallways labeled "vibe" and "chill." The sonic cross for any organ ensemble to carry is that of the complete misconception of being a pop instrumental ensemble. Not here.
Opening with the up tempo "Black" where guitarists Randy Napoleon shines with his clean articulated lines, Gold seems to feed off the sense of lyrical ugency and the accompanying sense of direction. The rhythm and blues classic O-O-H Child is dialed way back but seemingly to allow Gold the chance to conduct a harmonic exploratory and reinvent or perhaps reinvigorate a timeless classic with his own seal of approval. "Isn't It Romantic" is a beautiful standard where the arrangement perhaps outshines the impeccable original melody which is slightly reharmonized but done so for artistic expression and not a self indulgent pat on the back stating, "Look what I can do!" There is a deceptively subtle groove that grabs you periodically throughout this killer release and "It Ain't Necessarily So" is one of the tunes that while organic in nature begins to take on a lyrical pulse all its own. The 4tet here is rounded out by Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone, Randy Napoleon on guitar and the imcomperable Mark Ferber on drums.
Solids & Stripes is a solid winer. A three dimensional sonic depth of field with subtle harmonic shifts finds this as one of the more engaging debut releases for many years. If a B-3 fan such as I am then you may want to consider going through the Gold discography on the Posi-Tone label one release at a time. There are always new sonic twists and turns from Gold and the musicians picked to work with him are always first call talent as seems the norm for most Posi-Tone artists. While a great many of the tunes here are dialed back to a degree, swing is still king and the growth of Gold as an artist has been steady and self assured and he is easily one of the finest artists not just on Posi-Tone but working today!
Tracks: Black; O-O-H Child; The Nest; On The Cusp; Angela; Queen's Gambit; Isn't It Romantic; Splat; It Ain't Necessarily So; Moonstone.
Personnel: Jared Gold: organ; Seamus Blake: tenor saxophone; Randy Napoleon: guitar; Mark Ferber: drums.