Captain Black Big Band: Captain Black Big Band (2011)
Of course, it's not all due to Evans: each of the musicians contributes to the Captain Black sound. While Evans is the bandleader and main composer, he's by no means the dominant instrumental voice on the album, taking only one solo, on Gianluca Renzi's silky "Here's The Captain." There are plenty of other fine soloists within the group, and Evans makes effective use of their talents. "Jena 6," written and arranged by Evans, features two of the best, in Neil Podgurski's metallic, angular piano and Jaleel Shaw's looping and swerving alto work.
Evans' own "Captain Black" is the tune that links most directly to the big bands of the past, with saxophonist Todd Bashore's arrangement giving it a Count Basie feel. "Easy Now," another Evans tune this time arranged by bass clarinetist Todd Marcus, is the most reflective and romantic number. It's loose-limbed and rather melancholy, with Gene Jackson's drumming charting its ebb and flow while baritone saxophonist Mark Allen and trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt deliver strong and atmospheric solos.
Evans has been part of some fascinating jazz ensembles, most notably Tarbaby, whose End Of Fear (Posi-Tone) was one of 2010's finest releases. Captain Black Big Band is an emphatic demonstration of his ability to lead an innovative and vibrant orchestra that can surprise and entertain in equal measure.
Track Listing: Art of War; Here's The Captain; inheritance; Big Jimmy; Captain Black; Easy Now; Jena 6.
Personnel: Orrin Evans: piano; Jim Holton: piano; Neil Podgurski: piano; Luke Brandon: trumpet; Daud El-Bakara: trumpet; Josh Evans: trumpet; Tatum Greenblatt: trumpet; Leon Jordan Jr.: trumpet; Brian Kilpatrick: trumpet; Curtis Taylor: trumpet; Tim Thompson: trumpet; Jack Walrath: trumpet; Walter White: trumpet; Mark Allen: saxophone, bass clarinet; Chelsea Baratz: saxophone; Todd Bashore: saxophone; Ralph Bowen: saxophone; Wade Dean: saxophone; Doug DeHays: saxophone; Wayne Escoffery: saxophone; Tia Fuller: saxophone; Rob Landham: saxophone; Victor North: saxophone; Jaleel Shaw: saxophone; Tim Warfield: saxophone; Darryl Yokley: saxophone; Stafford Hunter: trombone; Frank Lacy: trombone; Joe McDonough: trombone; Ernest Stuart: trombone; Brent White: trombone; Todd Marcus: bass clarinet; Luques Curtis: bass; Anwar Marshall: drums; Mike Boone: bass (1); Mark Przybylowski: bass (3); Gene Jackson: drums (2, 6); Donald Edwards: drums (7).
Record Label: Posi-Tone Records