January/February 1997

Larry Goldings
Big Stuff
Warner Brothers

In this, his second major label release, the impressive Larry Goldings explores further possibilities of the Hammond organ in an eclectic presentation including all but the standard organ groove. Nevertheless, the disc always comes back to its most satisfying and inventive moments in dynamic solos that are more firmly rooted. In a sense, this is a tribute to Goldings' integrated conception, which thrives despite the disparate production.

The album is a pastiche, featuring Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, and Carla Bley, and originals that owe their inspiration to a range from J.S. Bach to Jim Hall to Arthur Schwartz to ethereal pieces reminiscent of Larry's latest collaborator, John Scofield. Some tracks feature the swinging Peter Bernstein on guitar, others have Kurt Rosenwinkle in the Scofield mode; the impressionistic saxophonist John McKenna contributes to a couple, while the soulful rhythm of Idris Muhammad fits in on others.
In his playing, Goldings at one moment is digging in like Larry Young, or soaring like a McCoy Tyner at the organ (on "Where You've Been"). Yet he can stay in the pocket with Bernstein and excel on other numbers, such as "Jim's Jam." In any of the settings, Goldings is enchanting, and he takes full advantage of this variety, mining the fresh potential of the organ. - Sid Gribetz

Originally published in January/February 1997
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