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Orrin Evans: Hot Irons In The Fire

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A pianist with great chops, great touch and an attack that fancies many influences from fierce swing to gospel, Orrin Evans is one of the outstanding creative musicians on the New York City scene. His work, no matter what the context--and he loves different contexts--is downright riveting at times. But for the 38-year-old who hails from jny: Philadelphia, jazz, though a pleasure, was a bit of a mystery when he was first experimenting with it. “I didn't know what improvisation was, to be honest. I didn't know what they were doing," when he listened to records, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Orrin Evans' Captain Black Big Band: Mother's Touch

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New York-based pianist / composer (and two-time Grammy Award nominee) Orrin Evans served notice with his first big-band album for Posi-Tone Records that there was an impressive new ensemble on the scene, a message that is firmly underscored by the second, the cryptically named Mother's Touch, whose tone and temperament mirror Evans' contemporary point of view. Evans wrote six of the album's nine numbers, the first of which, the gospel-flavored “In My Soul," kick-starts the session with righteous vigor underpinning solos to match by Evans and tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland who switches to soprano for another trenchant ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Orrin Evans' Captain Black Big Band: Mother’s Touch

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The studio-versus-stage argument will forever rage on in music, but it really shouldn't. Each setting has its advantages and disadvantages. The jazz community has forever favored the stage, as many feel that jazz is meant to be experienced and created in the moment, with artist(s) feeding off the room and creating here-and-gone sounds. That preference is completely understandable, but the studio has its advantages; clarity, balance, and the right working conditions can often only be found there. The first two releases from pianist Orrin Evans' Captain Black Big Band both speak in similar fashion, but they're a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Orrin Evans' Captain Black Big Band: Mother's Touch

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Nobody does big bands these days. Nobody. Not without institutional support like a university or a foundation. Not unless you are Orrin Evans. The jny: Philadelphia pianist writes and arranges music so appealing, a revolving cast of musicians can't resist playing his music. While we will never see an independent outfit like the Captain Black Big Band, which can swell to thirty plus musicians, touring for months on end, their occasional gigs and recordings are a godsend. The studio recording Mother's Touch follows the self-titled Captain Black Big Band (Positone, 2011) recorded live in various locations in 2010. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola

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Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band Dizzy's Club Coca Cola New York, NY October 6, 2013 Though the band leader/pianist /composer Sun Ra spoke of being part of an “Angel Race" from Saturn, his music, as avant-garde as it could sometimes be, was for the large part, accessible. One of his lifetime heroes was Duke Ellington, not just for his ability to lead a brilliant orchestra, but also for the melodic purity of his compositions. Ra kept the swing in his big band, despite the fact that he believed his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Orrin Evans: Flip The Script

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Pianist Orrin Evans' last three outings for the Posi-Tone label have been vastly different from one another. He forged new, edgy frontiers as part of the collectively formulated Tarbaby on The End Of Fear (Posi-Tone, 2010), put his own unique stamp on the big band format with the bold Captain Black Big Band (Posi-Tone, 2011), and gave a nod to Philadelphia, the city that formed and nurtured him, on the mostly trio-based Freedom (Posi-Tone, 2011). Flip The Script finds Evans working in trio mode again, but it's not more of the same. Freedom had a mainstream appeal ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Orrin Evans: Flip The Script

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In the wrong hands, the contemporary piano trio can sound like a retread of piano trios since the dawn of popular music. In the right hands it remains a potent force: exciting, engaging, full of imagination and capable of flights of invention. The hands of Orrin Evans are the right hands. The Philadelphia-born pianist is approaching 20 years as a recording artist and, by the sound of Flip The Script, he's in one of his most creative periods to date.Evans' other projects include the Captain Black Big Band--whose eponymous 2011 Posi-Tone debut was a full-on big band blowout--and ...



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