Sound — 7
After being a backup guitarist for the likes of Tina Turner, John Waite and Rod Stewart through late '80s and early '90s, Jeff Golub embarked on a solo career that took off in the '90s and continues to bring him international fame in his own right. His latest release Grand Central, produced by himself and co-producer Steven Miller, is coated with contemporary jazz guitar textures and smooth jazz esthetics entwining a series of casually drooling horns performed by Nick Lane (trombone), Rick Braun (trumpet), Dave Woodford (saxophone), Richard Elliot and Kirk Whalum (tenor saxophone). The arrangements have an adult contemporary feel like elevator music, which is different from what Golub played with Stewart or from Golub's previous solo albums. One of the more enticing pieces is the remake of George Harrison's song Something. Golub reaches those high points in the melody with a nice gradual escalation. He does not make sharp turns or contrasting chord movements, but plays out the melodies like they need to be done with steady hands and slow rising ascensions. His guitar picking is rock oriented showing correlations to Pat Metheny and Nils, and sometimes it seems like he treats the instrument like a bass guitar making cozy trenches and grooves along the melodies. The song structures are well made like they were thought out carefully, and attention is drawn on to the detailing of the pieces so the instrument lines have clarity and a hearty sound. For instance, the bass parts and guitar riffs are not muddy but crystal clear in the listener's ear. Everything sounds like it is where it needs to be.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are none applicable in Golub's album, because there are no vocals on these tracks. They are all instrumentals which play out even on those songs like Harrison's "Something" which comes with lyrics but the words are omitted in the track. I gave Golub an "7" to maintain the average score for the tabulation of the three ratings.
Overall Impression — 7
I expected more from Golub on these tracks. The guitar parts are pleasant and sedate and come off as complacent, like on Golub's rendition of the hit song Ain't No Woman (Like The One I Got) first made popular by The Four Tops. Golub is no longer adventurous or maybe he does not feel the need to prove something about his playing in his compositions. He takes the melodies with slow, steady sips like moving at the pace you drink your morning coffee, tea or orange juice. I suppose this is how he lives his life and it was funneled into the way he thought out the arrangements. The album speaks to those with contemporary jazz in their hearts and for anyone who wants to take life easy. Although, I will hand it to Golub, the final track Stuffin' It ravels all the instruments into a massive shindig like the finale of a show. Now, the album gets some action.