David Evans is an expressive tenor player who, like a unique vocalist, can use his horn to bring a fresh take to a timeless standard. For I Didn't Know About You
, he has engaged a top shelf piano trio that has him successfully maneuvering through a wide range of sentiment to inspire an array of emotions. The result is a most satisfying session.
Joining Evans for his trip down memory lane is an all-star band with the versatile Mike Wofford providing rhythmically interesting piano accompaniment, bassist Bob Magnusson adding the right amount of punch, and former Bill Evans sideman Joe La Barbera on drums. The quartet begins up-tempo and happily announces that it is going to be putting on a "Late Late Show" until an achingly beautiful tenor line has Evans using the high register to implore Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" to find a love yet unknown. On this version, the bird succeeds, as the sense of forever is lovingly portrayed by a wonderfully unhurried "Never Let Me Go." Evans adds his singular tenor voice to those of Lester Young and Stan Getz as he also takes the melody of "Pennies From Heaven" astray, before Wofford harmonically calls up Duke Ellington with the assistance of Magnusson's sliding bass to set the stage for a breathy tenor voice that asks, "What else could I do?", "I Didn't Know About You."
There are literally hundreds of different recordings available for most of these selections, and many have highly recognizable vocal and instrumental versions. However, on standards such as the quartet's boppish takes on "I Want to Be Happy" and Cole Porter's "So In Love," the melodies don't pale, thanks to the vocal quality of Evans' horn and the inventiveness of the band. Likewise, tunes associated with other tenorists are not copies but are truer to the melodic intent. While Sonny Rollins sped across the ocean "On A Slow Boat to China," Evans, Magnusson and crew take a smooth slower ride; the ballad "Something to Remember You By," swung out by Lester Young, is given an easy swinging feel; and though Joe Henderson pleaded with his lover, Evans delicately reminds her "You Know I Care." Luciana Souza's "Argument" again has Evans playing the role of vocalist in a striking classical presentation, while Bernstein's "Some Other Time" is a touching end-of-the-night snuggler.
Personnel: David Evans-tenor saxophone, Mike Wofford-piano, Bob Magnusson-bass, Joe La Barbera-drums