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Gabriel Evan Orchestra: Global Entry

Jack Bowers By

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Gabriel Evan Orchestra: Global Entry
At least one dictionary defines an orchestra as "a large instrumental ensemble...which combines instruments from different families including bowed string instruments...woodwinds...brass...percussion..." and "other instruments such as the piano, celeste...and harp..." Or, in the vernacular of New York-based saxophonist Gabriel Evan, a jazz sextet with some but not all of the above. Which is an around-the-block way of saying that Evan's "orchestra" lands somewhere short of the normal definition.

And that's by no means the only anomaly on Global Entry. Even though Evan's "orchestra," small as it is, places every one of the album's dozen numbers in a jazz framework, there are improvised solos on only five; the others are through-composed. As for the music, it spans a wide range of genres and eras, reaching back as far as the seventeenth century for the poet Ben Jonson's "Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes," neatly refurbished in trad jazz style by the late trumpeter Charlie Shavers, and embraces composers as dissimilar as Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Duke Ellington and Henry Mancini.

Evan wrote the Dixie-oriented "South 5th Street" and Klezmer-like "Negotiations of South Williamsburg," Shavers penned the well-grooved "Effervescent Blues." Tchaikovsky's familiar "Waltz of the Flowers" (updated by Evan) raises the curtain, followed by the first of two enticing rumbas, Ernesto Vasquez' "Rumba Azul" (the other is "Rumba Tambah," which closes the session). Shavers arranged Rimsky-Korsakov's "Arabian Nightmare" (from Scheherazade), Evan the traditional "Diane" (Tropical Moon), Ellington's buoyant "Jubilee Stomp," Mancini's sultry "Lujon" and Leo Blanc/Rafael Hernandez' "Tambah." Frankie Trumbauer scored the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's "Singin' the Blues."

The solos, such as they are, are more or less evenly divided among trumpeter John Zarsky (muted on "Jubilee Stomp"), clarinetist Joe Goldberg and pianist Joe Kennedy. Evan solos briefly on soprano ("Singin' the Blues," "Jubilee Stomp") and alto ("Drink to Me"). The group's other members are bassist Ben Fox and drummer/percussionist Michael Voelker. The frame of reference varies from trad to swing, never edging closer to modern jazz than that, and seems quite comfortable there. For what it is, Global Entry plays out as an astute and amiable session with a handful of special moments.

Track Listing

Waltz of the Flowers; Rumba Azul; Arabian Nightmare; South 5th Street; Diane; Singin' the Blues; Jubilee Stomp; Negotiations of South Williamsburg; Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes; Lujon; Effervescent Blues; Rumba Tambah.

Personnel

Gabriel Evan Orchestra: band/orchestra; Gabriel Evan: saxophone; Joe Goldberg: saxophone; John Zarsky: trumpet; Joe Kennedy: piano; Ben Fox: bass, acoustic; Michael Voelker: drums.

Album information

Title: Global Entry | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

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