A string of enjoyable leader dates and some high profile work in guitarist Dave Stryker’s organ-centric groups can be credited for the steady rise in organist Jared Gold’s profile. His ability to live within the tradition while simultaneously building upon it has made him one to watch, and his constant and steady growth as a musician/composer has been evident from album to album.
Golden Child, his fifth release for the Posi-Tone label since 2009, was actually recorded a good six months before its horn-driven predecessor, 2011′s All Wrapped Up, and on the whole it’s a looser date. Two like-minded musical partners—guitarist Ed Cherry and drummer Quincy Davis—join the organist on a covers-heavy program that gives nods to everybody from Sam Cooke and Johnny Nash to Jimmy Webb and Duke Ellington. While Gold’s selections are familiar ones, his interpretations are far from normal. Musicians including clarinetist Anat Cohen and guitarist Bill Frisell have treated Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” with due reverence, but Gold gives it a groovy make-over, and Ellington’s ballad-born “In A Sentimental Mood” is transformed into a mid-tempo swinger.
While the band catches fire on occasion, most notably with the back-to-back home runs of “In A Sentimental Mood” and “Times Up,” this is an album that’s more likely to singe than fully burn. Gold’s originals, from the title track which cooks on a low flame to the semi-swampy “14 Carat Gold” to the mellow and soulful “Pensa Em Mim” are inviting in their casualness. Cherry reads Gold’s temperature at every turn, meshing with the leader rather than providing great contrast in most places, and Davis moves the music along without pushing.
Golden Child isn’t an overly ambitious outing, but it’s welcome nonetheless, another opportunity to admire the unique organ perspective that Jared Gold has to offer.