Reverend Zen: Angels, Blues and the Crying Moon
When I was a kid in Iowa, I loved James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin. Then it was B.B. King, Paul Butterfield, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles and onto Miles Davis and all the musicians that came out of his bands. When I was in Boston, I first heard Steely Dan's Aja (MCA, 1977) album and Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark (Elektra/Asylum, 1974). They really spoke to me. It really hit me how they both incorporated these blues and jazz influences that I loved. They also had really unique visions lyrically. With Reverend Zen it usually breaks down to trying to incorporate a lot of the elements that you might hear on a good R&B song from someone like Bobby Blue Bland, adding in our jazz influences harmonically and offering up an inspired, musical guitar solo. Hopefully the RZ lyrics hit some emotions that move people to think or smirk a bit and stick in their heads.
AAJ: With a group as large as those credited on Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon, have you done any touring to support and promote the release?
JE: No, not yet. In the midst of recording and releasing the CD, my father was ill for a few years and then passed away back in Iowa. I was back and forth a lot between Iowa and New York and it limited my time and resources. As a result I've just done my best to promote the album through the outlets we've already spoken about, along with radio, TV and print interviews and making it out to the LA Music Awards, which was great exposure.
AAJ: Having had this success with your first release, are you working on another or will it be another decade before we hear something new from Jack Evans and Reverend Zen?
JE: I do have five or six new songs that are in the writing stage right now, but none of them are totally finished. There's the one I mentioned earlier "Fingerprints," and there's another one about a neo Nazi, "Billy and the Secret Brotherhood," but it's like I said earlier, I'm a slow worker. I always liked a Wayne Shorter quote I read once. He said, "Relax, it's only music."
Reverend Zen, Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon (Blackjack Music, 2006)
Courtesy of Jack Evans and Reverend Zen