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Golden Mean - Oumuamua (Jazz Re:freshed)

1 June 2023

For their second release Oumuamua, London jazz quartet Golden Mean made a small change, recruiting drummer Jamie Murray in place of their original skins-beater. Otherwise the lineup – guitarist Luke Wynter, keyboardist Lyle Barton, and bassist Tom Driessler – remains the same, as does their sound. Hearkening back to the funky, R&B-heavy fusion of the early seventies – Herbie Hancock/Crusaders division – Golden Mean paint colorful portraits that promote accessibility over complexity for its own sake. Songs like “The Breaks” (not that one), “The Hive ,” and “Red Horizon” sport memorable guitar and keyboard hooks over danceable grooves from a few generations ago. That’s not to say the band doesn’t show off its muso tendencies – the melodies tend to soar over complex harmonic changes, and Wynter in particular peels off some excellent solos. But melody and groove feel much more important than compositional elaboration. Wags might call Oumuamua easy listening, but if by “easy” they mean quick to warm up and get down, then Golden Mean is guilty as charged.