Victor Gould: piano; Myron Walden: tenor saxophone; Godwin Louis: alto saxophone; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Ben Williams: bass; E.J. Strickland: drums; Pedrito Martinez: percussion; Anne Drummond: flute; Yoojin Park: violin; Heejin Chang: viola; Veronica Parrales: cello.
Victor Gould, a meritorious pianist who worked with Donald Harrison, Ralph Peterson, and Wallace Roney in the past as a sideman, has an auspicious debut as a bandleader with “Clockwork”, a solid album that puts into practice his pungent compositional work.
Forming a stark foundation together with the bassist Ben Williams and the drummer EJ Strickland, Gould diversifies the moods and textures of his music by constantly altering the group’s format throughout the record.
Cooked in trio, we have the eloquent “Mr. Carter”, which pays tribute to the veteran bassist Ron Carter, and “Nefertiti”, a naturally enigmatic tune composed by Wayne Shorter and disseminated by Miles Davis on his 1968 album of the same name. However, it was with “Blue Dales”, when the rhythm section was empowered with the addition of Martinez’ percussion, that the trio impressed me most, relying on a stunning piano expressiveness and sparkling interplay to punch us hard.
The horns become simultaneously prevalent and influent throughout some of the tracks with Pelt, Walden, and Louis offering us dazzling improvisations. This happens in the title track, a tune that fills the air with a percussive exuberance, “Room 416”, whose harmonization and melody also carry something from Shorter, “Apostle John”, the most striking piece of the record, which advances at a swaggering rhythm as it resorts to incisive modal detours, and “Three Souls”, an empathic spiritual celebration pelted with awesome solos occasionally intercalated with winning collective improvisations.
Even if the variables keep changing, the formula remains consistent, making us conclude that Gould’s clockwork operates with a Swiss precision.
04 – Blue Dales ► 07 – Apostle John ► 11 – Three Souls