The man behind the Captain Black Big Band is pianist Orrin Evans. The ensemble's eponymous debut recording is a CD of such style, musicality and instrumental power that it seems only right to ensure that Evans gets the credit upfront. This is straight-ahead, swinging, big band music, recorded at three live performances in New York and Philadelphia in early 2010. The tunes may be familiarEvans has recorded some of them more than oncebut the new arrangements ensure that the band has a contemporary sound that draws from and adapts big band history rather than merely borrowing it unchanged.
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.
Art Of War; Here's The Captain; Inheritance; Big Jimmy; Captain Black; Easy Now; Jena 6.
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 Walraith: trumpet; Walter White: trumpet; Stafford Hunter: trombone; Frank Lacy: trombone; Joe McDonough: trombon; Ernest Stuart: trombone; Brent White: trombone; Mike Boone: bass (1); Luques Curtis: bass; Mark Przybylowski: bass; Mark Allen: bass clarinet; Todd Marcus: bass clarinet; Donald Edwards: drums (7); Gene Jackson: drums (2, 6); Anwar Marshall: drums; Mark Allen: saxophone; 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.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.