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Larry Goldings Trio: As One

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Larry Goldings is one of jazzdom’s truly distinctive organists. Yes, in bluesy tracks like “Mixed Message” there are echoes of the soulful surges of rhythm-n-blues master Jimmy Smith. In romps like the dash through Carla Bley’s “Calls,” one also hears an ethereal angularity reminiscent of Larry Young’s pulsing abstractions with Tony Williams Lifetime.

However, what ultimately sets Goldings off from his peers is his exquisite use of space, a point made emphatically clear in his ruminative intro to The Zombies’ “Time of the Season.” Although possessing a lithe technique that allows for insinuating cascades at a moment’s notice, in the end, it’s the notes not played that give his style its subtle power, punch and articulatory panache.

That Goldings does this without raising his instrument’s voice is a wonder. While we sense that he could explode at any moment with withering barrages of ear-splitting intensity, Goldings opts for a totally involving approach in which artful melodic, harmonic and rhythmic nuances draw us in, command our attention and carry the day. As a result, the attentive listener is rewarded with true sounds-and spaces-of surprise. Goldings is also a sophisticated colorist whose palette extends from gauzy pastels to vibrant MGM magentas. His intriguing use of dynamics is yet another asset. So, too, his nimble pedal work, whose understated elan recalls the fancy footwork of Eddy Louiss’ collaborations with Stan Getz.

Guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart back Goldings’ mesmerizing B-3 beautifully. The group’s lofty locutions lift the conversation to Olympian heights.