Between the fifteen-second song "How Long and the nearly nine-minute "Tag, you're left wondering if your CD player is in need of a cleaning. You ponder if the laser isn't unlike a diamond stylus of an LP player. Those of us who grew up with vinyl remember dropping the arm in the middle of a track, or having the needle bounce into a musical conversation started minutes before.
The same feeling emerges listening to the Peter Evans Quartet's self-titled record. Forget the intro, the theme-bridge-theme, and the statement of the ol' standard; Peter Evans and company dive directly into the middle of the fray. It is as if they are telling us to be well-read, because the past is not prologue, it is merely more information for the grinder that is the PEQ.
Evans, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, plays trumpet with overarching skill, a kind of Dave Douglas on methamphetamines. He has been a member of Carnival Skin, Moppa Elliott's Mostly Other People Do The Killing, and the New York Trumpet Ensemble. Last year's solo album, More Is More (Psi), was highly praised for its imagination and skill.
This recording by his working quartet is a tour de will, full of intensity, noise, electronics and, above all, superbly skilled musicians. Unlike the Downtown musicians of the 1990s, these players don't reinvent jazz the way of new wave DIY musicians. They are not asking you to join them as they learn their instruments and craft. These fourEvans, Brandon Seabrook (guitar and electronics), Tom Blanchard (bass) and Kevin Shea (drums)are fully formed and skilled players, yet they opt for the raw expression of the garage band avant-garde.
Personnel: Peter Evans: Trumpet; Brandon Seabrook: guitar, electronics; Tom Blancarte: bass; Kevin Shea: drums.