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Sometimes moving straight-ahead is the best direction.
The Michigan based group Evidence has the heart of a true working jazz band. Led by saxophonist Michael Doyle the group has been a busy for over ten years at local gigs, festivals, as well as regular performances on WGVU Radio Jazz Night. While clearly in the vein of mainstream post bop jazz, what is clearly obvious from these releases is that this group is capable of delivering solid music.
Soulville Smitty Music Company
Jumping off with the groove inspired title cut the band brings a lively and hip vibe to their music which is clearly steeped in the jazz of the 50's and 60's. Not only can they swing hard but also show some fine Latin flair on "Spirit of Caprocorn and "On Ritmos del Alma with authentic clave rhythms. The tight group sound is accentuated on "Duece with Doyle laying down some robust tenor work with acrid yet smooth notes as trumpeter James Daniels bring a polished trumpet as the rhythm section is spiced with Afro Brazilian percussion. The music has a spirit of intensity or calmness on the atmospheric "Filtered Light as the sax and trumpet warmly converse the melody. Other memorable pieces include "Telescope with its circuitous syncopation and outstanding solos, or the light flow of "Susan which contains a superb bass solo. Though the recording missteps a bit with the two closing cuts that feel out slightly out of place; this is a solid and entertaining effort by a well rounded group that knows how to bring it.
Untitled J-Bird Records
The depth and confidence of this fine group was first made known on their debut release which has definite influences of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis's quintet of the 1950' with cool swing rhythms, taut horn harmonies, and good solos. The core group of Michael Doyle on saxophone, James Daniel's on trumpet, and Steve Talaga on piano, was augmented by the fierce rhythm section of drummer Quincy Davis, and bassist Shawn Sommer who later went on to work with the Tom Harrell Quintet and the Benny Green Trio. The opening number "Untitled is illuminated with rapid solos while "Fuse IV holds a cool uptown presence. Doyle's saxophone has a darker tone with hints of Henderson and Coltrane while Daniel's trumpet is bright and fluid. They compliment each other nicely on the laid-back stroll of "Barry's Blues with the help of some fine piano and bass solos. Balladry and melody are also done with care on "Sister Mister and "The Simple One on this noteworthy debut that shows Evidence can deal the changes artfully with a sharp sense of history and appeal for the present.
Personnel: Michael S. Doyle - saxophones; James Daniels - trumpet; Steve Talaga - piano; Tom Lockwood - bass; Fred Knapp - drums; Guests - Jonathan Mikulich - alto sax "Ritmos del Alma"; Ed Bomer - congas "Ritmos De Alma"; German "Pito" Ortiz - percussion; Oscar Gonzalez - percussion; Robert Mulligan - percussion.
Tracks: 1. Soulville 2. Spirit of Capricorn 3. Duece 4. Filtered Light 5. Ritmos del Alma 6. Telescope 7. Susan 8. Lucky Nine 9. Guidance
Personnel: Michael S. Doyle - saxophones; James Daniels - trumpet; Steve Talaga - piano; Shawn Sommer - bass; Quincy Davis - drums.
Tracks: 1. Untitled 2. Fuse IV 3. Sister Mister 4. Barry's Blues 5. The Simple One 6. Uptown Downtown
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.