186

Orrin Evans: Faith in Action

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Orrin Evans: Faith in Action On Faith in Action, his reverent homage to an old boss, saxophonist Bobby Watson, Orrin Evans plays with his heart on his sleeve, gliding right down to his bare fingertips. Here is a pianist who channels masters from Thelonious Monk to Bud Powell and Bill Evans. However, through it all Evans is his own man, a singular voice that combines the precision of a surgeon and the compassion of a saint in an attack on the keys that is so angular and delightful that dancing feet and swaying bodies may never stop moving and grooving. Evans displays a superb ability to express the emotion of the music. This makes his reading of songs he aims to interpret taut with feeling. His solos comprise well-chosen notes and short phrases that reveal ideas that are fresh, inventive, and always relevant. Thus he goads his musicians—especially those in his current trio(s)—to reach further and deeper into their hearts and minds, to respond with equal measures of invention.

Watson has high praise indeed for the music on this album. And this is well merited by Evans. He deconstructs melody, probing every nook and cranny of the texture of sound to uncover the rich overtones of notes. These he inhabits as he rolls around on the keyboard, tossing and turning the new things he has discovered. His darting use of harmonics, often played with a sustained pedal and varied dynamics, in the way he strikes the notes makes his interpretations more resonant and infinitely memorable because of the echoes as the notes bounce off the capillaries of the mind's ear. The four-dimensional sound of "Appointment in Milano" provides a wonderful example of this aspect of his music. But he is a chameleon, too. For instance, on "Beattitudes," another Watson tune, he is more subdued, even circumspect. His voice is clipped, almost as if he were speaking softly instead of singing. Then, toward the middle of the piece, he becomes restless and florid and begins to vocalize in myriad voices.

Evans continues to surprise and catch the listener off guard throughout the length and breadth of the album. Breadth is, indeed, the operative word, as the music he plays has a sweeping nature, creating large canvases of sound. Even on short elegiac pieces such as "Matthew's Song" and the jitterbug-like "MAT-Matt," composed for his children, he pushes the boundaries of tone and texture almost to the breaking point. However brittle this might sound initially, Evans bounces around the drums of Nasheet Waits and the bass of Luques Curtis, pushing hard against anything that might become a barrier to broadening the scope of his sound.

It is clear that Evans is brimming with ideas. However, an ultimate fade to black on the album is inevitable. Still, it is here that Evans seems only to retreat into a thoughtful silence to ponder the twists and turns of his next wonderfully surprising project.

Track Listing: Don't Call Me Wally; Faith In Action; Wheel Within A Wheel; Appointment In Milano; Matthews Song; Beattitudes; MAT-Matt; Love Remains; Two Steppin with Dawn; Why Not.

Personnel: Orrin Evans: piano; Luques Curtis: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums; Rocky Bryant: drums; Gene Jackson: drums.

Title: Faith In Action | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn
by Nicola Negri
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Heads & Tales Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Heads & Tales Volume 2
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Of Earth And Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Of Earth And Sky
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Tracé Provisoire" CD/LP/Track Review Tracé Provisoire
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 10, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.