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Disc review: Goldings, Bernstein, Stewart's 'Ramshackle Serenade'

Jimmy Smith was nothing if not a showboat.

When he gave us an organ trio disc with guitar, he made sure there was a good share of Hammond B-3 screaming on it, not to mention at least one tune with a rhythmic groove that could hook anyone anytime anywhere (his version of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” with Wes Montgomery will do for an eternal example).

This is an organ-guitar-drum trio of a couple decades-plus duration that feels no need whatsoever to do such things. You can’t even say that Larry Goldings is a jazz organist in the Larry Young tradition either. He’s more like a jazz organist as Bill Evans might have imagined him – or, sometimes on this disc, the kind of Wes Montgomery disc he might have made if his organist Melvin Rhyne had had the kind of sensitivity a post-Evans pianist might have had.

Goldings, in other words, is a brilliantly enabling musician, which is why when this trio of longtime cohorts plays it’s usually called the Larry Goldings Trio. But guitarist Peter Bernstein is a great guitar soloist, and the title here, “Ramshackle Serenade,” is a superb indication of how modest – and, at the same time free and appealing – this organ trio is.

It’s a good bet that drummer Bill Stewart is finding his subtlety here as fulfilling as his work with Phil Woods if not more so.

Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart, “Ramshackle Serenade” (Pirouet)
Jazz
3 stars

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