Jazz organist Jared Gold is soon to release his cd All Wrapped Up on April 12, 2011. The energetic quartet features Gold on organ, tenor saxophonist extraordinaire Ralph Bowen, trumpeter Jim Rotondi and Quincy Davis on drums.
From the opening bars of the hard swinging, up-tempo My Sentiments Exactly to the final funky Just a Suggestion, this group nails it – plain and simple.
Bowen on sax and Rotondi on trumpet compliment one another whether in unison or harmony as evidenced on Get Out of My Sandbox. The opening melodic statement is followed by a blisteringly swinging solo by Bowen. Rotondi solos second after Bowen, which is often an unenviable task. Not to be outdone, the gifted trumpeter lays down an equally brilliant solo of his own. Jared Gold solos last with Quincy Davis punctuating behind the drums.
Piece of Mine, written by Quincy Davis, begins in laid back fashion by comparison to the first two cuts. Bowen’s glistening tenor sound begins the head with Rotondi’s trumpet taking a secondary roll until embarking on the first solo. His playing here is clever, driving and a pure pleasure to listen. Davis and Gold lay a thick bed for both Rotondi and Bowen to solo over. The ensemble has a huge sound for only four musicians. Things thin out a bit for Gold’s organ solo and again Davis pushes and pokes behind each soloist. The final statement of the head reveals a tasteful duel between trumpet and tenor.
Perky and playful is Midnight Snack this time written by Ralph Bowen. Bowen solos first, weaving a stream of eighth notes and then blossoming into more adventurous ground where he explores the altissimo register and some great rhythmic interplay with the rhythm section. Davis and Gold beautifully alternate between Latin and swing behind Rotondi’s solo. The rhythmic sensitivity of the entire group is particularly evident between Davis and Gold during his organ solo. Davis also has an opportunity to stretch a bit at the end.
Although this is clearly a great feature for Jared Gold on organ, he does a very nice job of showcasing the talents of the entire ensemble. Although Gold has penned 5 of the 8 cuts, each member of the group has contributed an original composition to the recording. Dark Blue is the bittersweet, slow and swinging composition by trumpeter Jim Rotondi. It may not be the most exciting tune recorded on All Wrapped Up however the group executed it with the same fire and passion as the more lively cuts. One highlight on Dark Blue comes when Gold literally “pulls out all the stops” just before Rotondi’s likeable trumpet solo. Bowen solos last before the last head, once again demonstrating he has great chops.
The soulful Mama Said ought to make anyone within earshot want to get up and move. Something about this tune harkens back to the great sound of the Jazz Crusaders. It’s difficult to decide whether I am more attracted to Ralph Bowen’s sound, his feel or his impeccable technique. All three shine so very brightly on Mama Said.
The penultimate track is the brooding Saudades written by Jared Gold. Rotondi takes the melody on trumpet. His sound is fat and round – almost like a flugelhorn. Bowen joins him briefly on the harmonized melody before Gold takes the first solo. Bowen also solos before the trumpet and tenor play the melody one last time.
The uplifting Just a Suggestion leaves this recording on a high note. Just as on Mama Said, I found myself bouncing in my chair while listening to this song. If the groove were not enough, Ralph Bowen plays a wonderful solo where he solidifies that he is one of the premier living tenor saxophonists on this planet.
At the risk of sounding overly flattering toward this group, I cannot contain my admiration for Ralph Bowen’s abilities as a saxophonist and more importantly – musician. He continually surrounds himself with the best musicians of our time and Jared Gold’s All Wrapped Up is no exception. Quincy Davis, Jim Rotondi, Ralph Bowen and Jared Gold work seamlessly together to produce a recording that will take a prominent place in my cd changer and on my iPod.
Run; do not walk to buy this cd on April 12, 2011.
You can find out more about Ralph Bowen at ralphbowen.com