One of the great things about jazz is that some jazz musicians can just get together in a studio and knock out tunes and resulting record can be just as enjoyable as a carefully constructed, meticulously planned affair. The Hammond B-3 boss Jared Gold got together with his old band boss guitarist Dave Stryker and added reliable time-keeper McClenty Hunter (Stan Killian, Jim Snidero, Steve Slagle) to knock out Intuition. As the album title implies, these kind of dates are driven by instinct and playing in the moment, and that’s just how Intuition comes across.
A stalwart at the quality mainstream jazz label Posi-Tone Records, Gold has consistently encapsulated what is so great about the Posi-Tone catalog: he’s well-schooled in tradition, brings vigor and his own voice to the music, and he swings like the dickens. That’s why we’re here talking about his sixth record overall and the forth one in a row covered on this space.
Gold really does lend his own voice to the organ, and it shows in the way he harmonizes a song, using alternate routes that add intrigue even to straightforward and simple melodies. The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” becomes something else in his hands. In fact I didn’t even recognize the tune until I consulted the CD label, because Gold had cleverly swapped out a few chords for ones that are close but not quite the originals. “You’ve Got A Friend” — another song written with Carole King’s involvement but popularized by someone else — is much more traceable because Stryker and then Gold play the lyric lines in the first verses and chorus straight as a way of introduction, and then both take turns mining more soul out of the song.
On these and the originals, all provided by either Gold or Stryker, it’s typically Gold that brings the heat, often smearing or scuffing up his chords, while Stryker plays it cool and articulate. Both have the rapport that makes the songs as much of a pleasure to listen to for the whole band experience as it is to hear each of them rip it up on their respective instruments.
Gold’s composing pen on “The Crusher” and “Hoopin’ On Sundays” devised strains that are too sophisticated for run-of-the-mill B-3 fueled soul-jazz, but they groove just as hard. Stryker cooked up some killer bop lines for “Shadowboxing” and Gold set the song on fire with his infernal organ playing, followed by Stryker’s thoughtful but swinging expressions. “Bedo’s Blues” is the straight blues form where Gold applies a lot of grease to his solo while Stryker goes a Wes Montgomery route, jazz octaves and all. It’s evocative of the Jimmy Smith/Wes Montgomery summit meeting, James and Wes.
Victor Assis Brasil’s Brazilian uptempo delight “Pro Zeca” is also covered, a pleasant change-up from the distinctly American fare of the rest of the album. Gold and Stryker engage with tight unison lines on it, and Stryker’s lead lines are particularly fluid, as Hunter works his ass off on drums and is later rewarded with a propulsive solo.
A straight-up first-rate blowing session with plenty enough wrinkles in it to ward off that sameness feel, Intuition is another productive day at the office for Jared Gold.
Intuition goes on sale March 26, by Posi-Tone Records.