Scary Goldings – Scary Goldings IV – Pockets Inc.

by | Feb 12, 2022 | Jazz CD Reviews, Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

Putting the Fun into Funk-Jazz.

Scary Goldings – Scary Goldings IV – [TrackList follows] – Pockets Inc., 40:42 [1/31/21] ****:

(Ryan Lerman – guitar; Jack Conte – Wurlitzer; Larry Goldings – Hammond B3 organ; MonoNeon – bass; Louis Cole (tracks 1, 4, 7), Tamir Barzilay (tracks 2, 5-6, 8), Lemar Carter (tracks 3, 9-10) – drums; John Scofield – guitar (tracks 1, 3-4, 7, 9-10))

What or who is Scary Goldings? The ongoing jazz-funk project is helmed by keyboardist/Hammond B3 organist Larry Goldings (his career credits include Jim Hall, James Taylor, Maceo Parker and frequent studio work) alongside Los Angeles-based funk/covers band Scary Pockets, led by multi-instrumentalist Jack Conte (an entrepreneur, videographer, and he co-leads the duo Pomplamoose) and guitarist Ryan Lerman (résumé consists of Ben Folds, Micheal Bublé, John Legend, more). Over the course of four releases, the grooving Scary Goldings has enlisted guest artists such as guitarist Robben Ford (see 2019’s The Ego Trap). The group’s latest, Scary Goldings IV, adds John Scofield to six of ten tracks. The topnotch rhythm section comprises first-time Scary Goldings bassist MonoNeon and three drummers who are spread across various cuts: Louis Cole on three numbers, Tamir Barzilay on four and Lemar Carter on three.

Bringing in Scofield was a natural step since Goldings and Scofield go way back. They were in Trio Beyond with drummer Jack DeJohnette; and Goldings was featured on six Scofield albums from 1994’s Hand Jive to 2016’s Country for Old Men. Scofield fits right in on opener “Professor Vicarious,” a riffing icebreaker which introduces Scary Golding’s winning approach. The five-minute “Cornish Hen” is another jumper with lots of Scofield soloing. The 1970s-drenched and punily-titled “Tacobell’s Canon” is a gem with jovial back-and-forth between Scofield’s smoking electric fret work; Goldings’ soulful organ; and popping bass and drums. It’s hard to envisage the funk getting any deeper than the too-brief “Bruise Cruise,” which is what one might experience if the Ohio Players had ever jammed with the Crusaders. There’s a degree of familiarity to the melodic mannerism of “The Shiner.” Does it borrow from a Paul McCartney and Wings hit? Listeners can figure it out for themselves. Nevertheless, it includes a signature Scofield solo. Scary Goldings offers a slighter laidback gradient on “Meter’s Running—which aptly has an underpinning not far from New Orleans funk band The Meters—where Scofield delves into the kind of sonic territory found on Jeff Beck’s 1975 LP Blow by Blow.

The Scary Goldings’ cuts without Scofield are just as fun and funky. “Hi Ho Silverstein” has scintillating Wurlitzer and Hammond B3 elements with a locked-in rhythmic roll from Barzilay and MonoNeon. The nearly six-minute “Disco Pills” indeed has a danceable demeanor and would not feel out of place on some mid- to late-seventies jazz/funk releases from Brother Jack McDuff or other likeminded artists. The slower “Pony Up” has a cinematic or TV disposition. One imagines it was composed after studying a few actual large screen or small screen theme songs. And who knows, maybe “Lurch” was inspired by the towering butler from “The Addams Family.” Or perhaps that’s fanciful thinking. Regardless of possible or surefire influences, Scary Goldings IV is readymade for jazz-funk fans who want something new to hear.

Professor Vicarious
Hi Ho Silverstein
Cornish Hen
Tacobell’s Canon
Disco Pills
Pony Up
Bruise Cruise
The Shiner
Meter’s Running

—Doug Simpson


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Album Cover for Scary Goldings

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