Jeff Golub: Dangerous Curves

Listeners might worry that Jeff Golub, as one of the more prominent breakout guitarist/producers of the past few years, is ripe for a rut. Golub’s GRP debut, Dan-gerous Curves (GRP VERF-01022-2; 61:10) should alleviate any such notions, as the ubiquitous axe-wielder presents some of his most focused work yet. A minimalistic but authoritative player, Golub makes each riff count on cuts like the album’s funky, energetic title track (backed by well-placed horns), and the jet-propelled Latin blues, “Step Aside,” featuring Mitch Foreman’s stiff-fingered piano corners. Golub explores different textures here-like the soft-toned “Droptop,” which echoes the laid back feel of “Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon,” and the romantic, bittersweet “Til We Meet Again,” recalling classic, bombast-free ballads of the Dionne Warwick-Burt Bacharach era. The crafty guitarist’s wide-ranging influences collide to great effect on a clever cover of Smashmouth’s alternative hit “Walkin’ On the Sun”-played at a cool, kick-back pace, the piece takes on a lilting, Caribbean funk flavor which proves a perfect fit.