For those of you who miss the good-time grooves of Richard Holmes, Lou Donaldson, and Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery, well, Coldwater may or may not be for you. Not going to the truly atavistic route of the Not So Young Lions, jazz guitarist Robert Jacobson pays obvious tribute to the jazz tradition of the aforementioned while stretching out with his own vision — which lies well beyond the cheese of Soulive or Metalwood while just lying shy of the free flight of Medeski, Martin, & Wood.
Jacobson is a guitarist with a nice, melodic touch who has teamed up with Wayne Peet’s meaty Hammond B3 to create a refreshingly delightful album. The rhythm section of Byron Vannoy (drums) and Clark Sommers (bass) lay down vibrant foundations that allow Jacobson and Peet to glide, fly, and stride boldly to intriguing heights.
Coldwater starts with a soulful cacophony, “Grounded,” an Ornette-ish New Orleans stomp that is utterly bewitching. There is an abstract intrigue that really pulls you in and almost swings you. But where Jacobson and Gang really excel is the ballad. Here he and Peet solo with a delicate touch that implores without ever delving into the sap. Subtlety abounds with songs like “Placerita Canyon,” where both players prove passion can be understated and, yet, utterly captivating. Peet shines celestial on “Dusk,” where his Hammond rings delightfully melancholic.
Coldwater is a delightful disc for jazz fans who are not stuck in the ’50s or ’60s. Jacobson and Peet are exceptional musicians who shine and entertain. This is definitely an album worth investigating.
Banana Bread Records: http://www.bananabreadrecords.com