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Ned Goold: The Flows

During Harry Connick Jr.’s 1999 summer tour, tenorist Ned Goold not only served as musical director, but he and his trio, with bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Ron Steen, also opened the show. The Flows (Smalls), Goold’s third album as a leader, is a collection of 16 performances chosen by him as among the best ones recorded at the 47 concerts.

Goold plays strong, inventive tenor with a tone and manner of phrasing highly suggestive of Sonny Rollins. Most of the tracks are medium fast to very fast, and allow him to show that he can swing lustily at any tempo. And so can his superb colleagues. Wolfe digs in forcefully and Steen matches him with a crisp, sparkling beat. The liner notes speak of a special system that Goold applies in his improvisations, but just what that might be is neither explained nor evident. However, one can observe that Goold does return again and again to a particular phrase-or one very much like it-that sounds to a great extent like a variation on a characteristic motive in Monk’s “Epistrophy.”

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