Ned Goold (tenor sax), Ben Wolfe (bass), Ron Steen (drums)
Ned Goold has frequently been a featured artist at Smalls, having earned his spot on the basis of his unusual and original approach. Over many years, Ned worked out a system of synthetic tonal structures that he could superimpose over the chords of traditional standards, and use as a basis for new compositions. Ned's original work on an as-yet unreleased Smalls Records recording won him a New Works grant from Chamber Music America in 2002 to further his explorations. Ned's music sometimes poses a formidable challenge for new listeners. But he is no mere formalist. "Listen to the bass notes" Ned urges. What he's doing is no different from Bix or Bird, or James Brown for that matter, Ned explains. He uses his highly developed resources to create a dark, funky sound that is both expressive and musically deep. Here Ned is in the company of Ben Wolfe on the bass, and Ron Steen on drums. Ned and Ben are longtime collaborators, and have appeared on a number of one another's recordings. Veteran drummer Ron Steen is solid and right at home, having played in the company of both for many years. The recordings herein were distilled from forty-seven shows recorded during the summer of 1999 while Ned was on tour, opening nightly for the Harry Connick Jr. band in which he also serves as musical director. This highly select collection affords us the best representation on record to date of Ned's trio work.
We wrote to Ned asking him to supply some text for the liner notes to this record, and we received the following reply from Ned's alter ego, Arch Mendle:
It's been four years since Ned Goold issued a CD as a leader. His main recorded output in this time has been with Harry Connick Jr., notably "Other Hours," an excellent instrumental quartet date. Before that he had released two CDs under his own name. Whereas these were done in a few hours each, "The Flows" was taken from more than twenty hours of music recorded over a period of three months and forty-seven separate performances. This allowed Goold to choose those tunes he felt were the most outstanding and exciting. The interaction among the trio is special because of the familiarity bred of almost nightly gigs. In the spring of 1999, Connick, with whom Ned has worked since 1990, asked him to open the shows for the summer tour -- no small gesture since these shows would be attended by thousands, none of whom having the slightest inkling who the Ned Goold Trio was, a fact made painfully clear in many spots on the CD. Goold, whose rhythmic and harmonic adventures have confused the most advanced musicians, decided not to change his approach or repertoire in an attempt to appease an audience who for the most part saw him as an impediment to their desires. The fact is, according to Goold, a good percentage of the audiences were very attentive, which can also be heard here. All in all, the tour was successful and through this record he was able to document much interesting new material. The title track came about through a collaboration with a rapper. "In the Still of the Night" and "Quasimodo" represent new strides in applying his system to standards. Plus, Goold was able to wax previously unrecorded early originals. These, combined with great versions of tunes already recorded, make this a tremendous addition to the meager Goold discography.
Artist web site: www.nedgoold.com