The Evan Moore Quartet: Little Rock, March 5, 2011
Murphy immediately betrayed broad and well-read influences, all refined into an intelligent and informed style uniquely his. His soloing and comping were lyrical and well-placed. Murphy had just enough funk in his performance to bring things off, but is actually a better ballads player as he would reveal throughout the show. Williams and Webb proved a tight nuclear rhythm section in all ways.
The instrumental band book included expected standardsKenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "The Girl from Ipanema"and some surprised, in Miles Davis' "Milestones" and Benny Golson's "Killer Joe.." Each song featured solos by Moore, Murphy and Williams. Webb's light shined every time he picked up the mallets for a bossa nova or island-tinged tune. From a learning perspective, this book would give any novice a grand introduction to the music that makes jazz, jazz.
The quartet featured a new singer in one Brittany Campbell, a youthful brunette brimming with talent and enthusiasm. Campbell is a student at a local university by day and a multifaceted performer by night, her résumé including stints with the Arkansas Twisters Arena Football Team and the Double AA minor-league baseball team Arkansas Travelers' cheer staffs. Campbell's jazz singing is well-versed by her more complete pop singing abilities. Her opening piece was a sturdy cover of the Young/Heyman standard, "When I Fall in Love," which she followed with "What a Wonderful World." Campbell's approach was one of youthful excitement, expressed through a solid set of pipes. Her high alto voice is well-balanced and rounded about the edges when necessary, and rough and ready when not.
Band and singer achieve critical mass on the ballad pairing of the Gershwin Brothers' "Summertime" (from 1935's Porgy and Bess) and Rodgers and Hart's "My Funny Valentine," from Babes in Arms (1937). Everything clicked here, with Campbell's voice confident and in control, and Moore's tenor perfectly at home with the music. Williams and Webb combined efforts to move the pieces at a proper pace, making these performances the highlights of an excellent evening.