Aug 2 2016
The winning quality of Clockwork is how Victor Gould isolates the indelible lyricism of soloists within a very thick, yet nuanced large ensemble sound. And in reality, that “large ensemble” basically amounts to a core sextet within an album of shifting formations, and that they’re able to approximate the huge sound of an armed-and-ready big band also speaks to quality of the compositions as well as the fit of these particular musicians within the framework established by Gould. The pianist and composer adds strings and additional percussion to an all-star line-up of horn, saxophones and rhythm unit, and the spectrum of tones generated is one that’s fluid and highly nuanced. It’s a big reason why the overall sound of the album doesn’t dramatically change from moment to moment, yet it perpetually seems to be undergoing a transformation as each song develops from first note to last.
It’s why the galloping charge of title-track “Clockwork” can transition to the sunny walk in the park of “Room,” which, in turn, shifts into the gentle sway of “Chaancé” and it all comes off like one extended image. And it’s also why it can pick right back up anywhere along that spectrum and start all over again. And it does.
The wind instrument front-line of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and saxophonists Godwin Louis and Myron Walden keep locked into their flight pattern even when they suddenly break off on individual melodic tangents. The charge of the all-pro rhythm section of bassist Ben Williams and drummer E.J. Strickland gets some extra voltage out of the contributions of percussionist Pedrito Martinez. With a Brazilian and straight-ahead recordings under her own name and her work with harpist Brandee Younger under her belt, Anne Drummond continues to display her versatility on flute in an increasingly diverse range of projects. And the string trio of violinist Yoojin Park, violist Heejin Chang and cellist Veronica Parrales add some essential harmonic texture on their guest spots while keeping nicely within the fold of the album’s overall vision. And all of that success is pretty damn impressive when taken into account that this is Victor Gould’s debut recording.
And ten albums from now, if he’s still pulling this off, it will be no less impressive. And that also would mean that there’s a whole lot more great music coming from his direction. Start here.
Your album personnel: Victor Gould (piano), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Godwin Louis (alto sax), Myron Walden (tenor sax), Ben Williams (bass), E.J. Strickland (drums) and guests: Anne Drummond (flute), Pedrito Martinez (percussion), Yoojin Park (violin), Heejin Chang (viola) and Veronica Parrales (cello).
Released on the Fresh Sound New Talent label.
Jazz from NYC.