Peter Evans Quintet: Ghosts (2011)
Listening to any recording by Evans often prompts the dubious query, "What did I just hear?" since this über-talent is equally comfortable in the worlds of jazz, classical, and free improvisation. Like his compatriot Jon Irabagon, from the reckless post-post-bop band Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Evans has talent on loan from the jazz gods. His trumpet can be heard on Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear, 2011) with Weasel Walter and Mary Halvorson, in duos with fellow trumpeter Nate Wooley or bassist Tom Blancarte, and in compelling solo settings. Evans' experiments in electronics began with a session in Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. But where that was a large troupe, the quintet heard here emphasizes the contributions of Sam Pluta.
The disc opens with ..."One to Ninety-Two," Evans' reinterpretation of Mel Torme's "Christmas Song." While the harmonies of the original remain, the band reworks its context. Opening with an intimate club scene, the humans acoustically play with the time signature, speeding and slowing time while their sound is processed via electronics. What is presented is a trumpet sounding much like Ben Neill's mutantrumpet, with electronic gnats buzzing the bandstand. Evans is free to improvise on the melody, while the electronics act as equal partner.
What the music is not is a mash-up or remix. Plata's manipulations can either act as a gentle wash, as it does on the ballad "Ghosts," or a buzzing retro-robot on "The Big Crunch," with Evans sitting out and the piano/bass/drums pounding out the pulse for a slot machine solo. This disc doesn't lack for Evans' multiphonic register leaps and superb group interactions, it's just that the ghost in the machine here happens to be human.
Ghosts is a modern classic of the future.
Track Listing: ...One to Ninety Two; 323; Ghost; The Big Crunch; Chorales; Articulation; Stardust.
Personnel: Peter Evans: trumpet, piccolo trumpet; Carlos Homs: piano; Tom Blancarte: bass; Jim Black: drums; Sam Pluta: live processing.
Record Label: More Is More Records
Style: Modern Jazz