Larry Goldings is an organist/pianist/composer who’s made his bones with Matt Wilson, John Scofield, and others, but here he bathes in the spotlight himself, and golly-gosh, does he make it count! Perhaps Goldings, like myself in my more cynical moments, realizes that the substance of far too many jazz albums can be discerned from the first few minutes of play (or from just looking at the song titles), so he’s made nearly every selection on Quartet distinctive, without resorting to "variety" for its own sake. There’s sinewy hard-bop on "Jackie-ing" and "A Dream About Jaki Byard," with John Sneider’s muted, fluid tones on the latter the cherry on the sundae, and then some sultry, deliciously languid blues with "Hesitation Blues," featuring the peppered-honey tones of guest Madeleine Peyroux over the elegant billows of Golding’s BBQ-sauce-rich organ.
But get you not the idea this Goldings cat is stuck in some idealized pre-Love Supreme notion of jazz - behold the slightly lush, iridescently contemplative "Cocoon," composed by Icelandic alt-rock thrush Björk, or the cinematic (in the best Citizen Kane sense) group-original "Denouement." Throughout the 12 selections here, Matt Wilson provides plenty of swing and oomph, the playing is briskly terse but tender. Most importantly, it is eminently lyrical. The LG4 approaches these pieces as songs, not merely frameworks for soloing. Quartet is a gem.