Larry Goldings | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Larry Goldings 

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The acid-jazz movement has prompted a renewed interest in funky organ combos--witness the spate of Blue Note reissues by Big John Patton, Lonnie Smith, and Ronnie Foster--but there hasn't been much in the way of important contemporary contributions to the tradition. Most acid-jazz organ combos either are vapid pop-based acts or fail to appreciate the necessary blues component. Larry Goldings is a shining exception. He first attracted attention while playing with saxophonist Maceo Parker, and he's subsequently released a handful of solo records. His work with guitarist John Scofield has complemented the funk grooves he gave Parker. A dyed-in-the-wool jazzer, Goldings braids together numerous stylistic strands, including the more pianistic achievements of the late Larry Young. His most recent album, Whatever It Takes (Warner Brothers), represents his finest work. Mixing strong originals with a variety of well-chosen covers of songs penned by Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, and Ray Charles, along with the standard "Willow Weep for Me," Goldings finally brings all of his stylistic interests together in one place, but the accent is most certainly on funk. Goldings will be joined by the great Billy Hart on drums and guitarist Peter Bernstein, a simpatico organ combo accompanist who also works with Mel Rhyne. The presence of Hart is especially exciting, as his wide-ranging approach also includes avant-garde proclivities. While not as edgy as Medeski, Martin & Wood, this trio's possibilities testify that the organ combo can do more than just pump out greasy grooves. Saturday, 9 PM, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln; 549-5549.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo by Dennis Keeley.

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