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Orrin Evans: Faith In Action

Russ Musto By

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Ever evolving, keyboardist Orrin Evans continues to develop his personal voice and innovative vision of the jazz piano trio tradition, both in terms of repertory and dynamics. On Faith In Action, the versatile player joins forces with his regular rhythm-section mate from trumpeter Sean Jones' group, bassist Luques Curtis, and fellow TARBABY collaborator, drummer Nasheet Waits. The program is divided equally between compositions by the leader's former employer, saxophonist Bobby Watson, and works from his own Philadelphia household—three originals penned by himself and one each from his wife, vocalist Dawn Warren and their young son, Matthew.

Watson's songbook is melodically appealing, delightfully lyrical and harmonically luxuriant, enduringly linked to the saxophonist's distinctive bittersweet sound, so Evans' interpretation of the repertoire sans horn is an audacious undertaking, reflecting the insight Evans gained as a member of Watson's Horizon group. Evans' Monk-to-McCoy influenced style is well suited to the daunting task as he thoughtfully mines each melody, pensively searching for his own soul within "Appointment In Milano," "Beattitudes," "Love Remains," the title track and "Wheel Within A Wheel" (where drummer Rocky Bryant sits in), expressing their beauty and strength in his increasingly identifiable personal manner.

Evans' insistently exploratory approach to performance is no less evident on his own three pieces, "Don't Call Me Wally," "MAT-Matt" and "Two Steppin With Dawn," as well as Warren's "Why Not" and 11-year-old "Matthew's Song," consistently eschewing the mechanical churning out of chord changes common to less creative pianists of his generation. The Curtis and Waits team—and Gene Jackson, who takes over for the latter on two tunes—remain surefooted throughout, faithfully following the pianist as he sets out on his own perilous path, wherein challenges are consistently welcomed and risks regularly rewarded.

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

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