Within the songs that make-up Invisible Words
(CAP, 2021), jazz pianist and composer Falkner Evans
is facing a profound loss and delivering an intricate and gorgeous musical response. Losing his wife and soul partner abruptly last year, after 30 years of marriage (she took her own life), Evans has found a way to create a reflective tribute and moving celebration of his wife's life.
Returning to his instrument in the form of a well-worn piano, in the basement of his brother-in-law's house, where he was staying to begin grappling with overwhelming grief, he started slowly, day by day, to begin a musical process. Sitting at this piano, without the intention of a musical project, Evans started to express the deep inner emotions he was feeling, using composition as a context for an act of healing. In the AAJ interview for this article, Evans expressed the moment he envisioned an album of songs, "One day, I went down there (to his brother-in-law's basement piano) and 3½ hours later came-up with the first three tunes of the record, and really liked what I heardand decided right then, I'm going to do this. This was something I had to do."
The result of this remembrance, dedication, and spiritual recognition of his partner through a musical vehicle, delivers a sequence of utterly distinct and unique solo compositions. With no accompaniment, the intricacies of the notes and the mood of the melodies offer much to absorb. Evans states that he intentionally "wasn't going to play a whole lot of time (i.e., following strict time signature), but instead play very rubato," thereby stretching certain beats and measures of the music.
Both the title song "Invisible Words" and "Bright Lights" are wonderful examples of the subtle touch and note improvisation, as Evans moves away from strict rhythm and follows his muse of emotional expression. As a composer, Evans reflected upon the freedom of solo compositions, which particularly apply here, with such a personal musical statement, "the great thing about playing solo is you can do whatever you wantjust lay it out." Clearly, words do not express the profound personal loss Evans has experienced, but in the AAJ interview, he spoke about perseverance. The eight songs on Invisible Words
reveal an astonishing result of that undertaking. These elegant compositions, not sentimental but vibrant with intricacies, offer distinct emotional expressions from the heart. On this road, musically, to an act of healing, Evans also suggested that he has opened-up some new creative doors for future compositions.