Jazz trio Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, and Bill Stewart is scheduled to release its new album, Perpetual Pendulum Friday through Smoke Sessions Records. Recorded in July 2021, the record’s recording session also come on the 30th anniversary of the release of the trio’s debut 1991 album, The Intimacy of the Blues. The new, forthcoming record is a presentation that most jazz fans will find engaging and entertaining thanks to its blend of originals and covers. One of the most notable of the covers featured in this record is that of George Gershwin’s ‘Prelude #2.’ It will be examined shortly. The trio’s updated take of Duke Ellington’s ‘Reflections In D’ is another notable cover featured as part of the album. It will be discussed a little later. The album’s title track is a standout among the album’s originals and will also be discussed later. Each track examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. When they are considered with the rest of the album’s covers and originals, the whole makes Perpetual Pendulum a successful addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.
Perpetual Pendulum, the new album from the jazz trio of Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, and Bill Stewart, is a successful new offering from the group that most jazz fans will find appealing. Each song featured in this record does its own part to make that clear, both in terms of the originals and the covers. Among the most notable of the covers featured in this record is that of George Gershwin’s ‘Prelude #2.’ The trio’s take on Gershwin’s 1927 composition stays largely true to its source material in terms of the sound. Gershwin’s easygoing piano line is replaced here by the pairing of Goldings on organ and Bernstein on guitar. More specifically, Bernstein takes on the main melody while Goldstein offers a backing of sorts a la a bass line with his simple chords. Meanwhile, Stewart’s subtle cymbal flourishes and work on the toms joins with Goldings’ occasional solos to enhance the group’s cover even more. The group had already stepped up their take from Gershwin’s original by increasing the tempo of Gershwin’s work. The bluesy vibe is there just as in Gershwin’s original, but it has more energy than the more sauntering sense of Gershwin’s work. The balance of the trio’s honor to Gershwin and its own updated performance makes the song here so unique and well worth hearing. It is certain to impress any Gershwin fan as those of these musicians and jazz in general.
Another cover worth noting in this record’s body is that of ‘Reflections in D.’ Originally composed by Alvin Ailey, the song gained fame thanks to Duke Ellington. Fans of Ellington and his performance will wholly enjoy the trio’s performance here. That is because of how true the group stays to the source material. Bernstein takes over for Ellington here with his performance on guitar. The gentle, flowing guitar line creates such a happy, relaxed mood as Bernstein works his way through the song. Goldings’ work on the keyboard is just as subtle with its accent to the presentation. Meanwhile Stewart’s ever so light cymbal rolls add just the right touch to the whole. The group collectively takes its performance and gives the source material an update that so many jazz fans will enjoy.
In the way of the originals, one of the most unique of the trio’s originals is its title track, which comes late in the album’s run. Bernstein takes the lead again here with his Dave Stryker-esque performance on the guitar. The easy listening style presentation alongside the almost funky organ line and subtle kick from the drums makes this song its own unique presentation. There are even some moments here of what feels like some free jazz added to the mix. The overall modern jazz approach and sound shows the trio is just as creative in crafting its own works as taking on standards from days gone by. When the song is considered along with the two covers examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Perpetual Pendulum an engaging blend of covers and originals that is a welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.
Perpetual Pendulum, the new album from the trio of Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, and Bill Stewart, is a successful new offering from the group. That is proven throughout the album in its covers and originals. All three of the songs examined here make that clear. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the record a presentation that most jazz fans will agree is well worth hearing.
Perpetual Pendulum is scheduled for release Friday through Smoke Sessions Records. More information on this and other titles from Smoke Sessions Records is available at:
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