Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

5

The Alan Evans Trio: Merkaba

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Anyone who mistakenly thought Alan Evans was (or was going to be) Soulive lite is going to be more than pleasantly surprised in hearing the threesome's sophomore recording. Before the opening cut "Thor" is thirty-seconds in, the band displays a depth and reach far in advance of its predecessor.

Not that AET isn't stylistically similar to its 'parent' group or its debut album. But while cuts like "Gone" and "Biscuits" work similarly funky syncopations with Beau Sasser's Hammond organ swirling in and out of the mix, the tracks evince a tougher guitar sound that imbues the music with a different personality, i.e. that of the bandleader.

In true Renaissance man mold, Alan Evans wrote all the material on Merkaba, as well as recording, mixing and producing the album (not to mention creating the artwork). He also plays guitar and bass guitar on the majority of the ten tracks here, in addition to supplying his customarily hard-hitting drumwork. Singing on "Life Is Harder to Live," the silky tones of his voice recall Curtis Mayfield in the sultry warmth they radiate; it's an effect reinforced by the repetition of the title as the sounds of a fretboard ricochet behind it, supplied in part by guitarist Danny Mayer.

The moniker of the Playonbrother (home) Studios where this album was done is particularly appropriate in its reference to Jimi Hendrix. The hard funk rock underpinned by pulsing bass in the likes of "Cosmic Hazel Dust" is directly descendant of the late rock icon's latter-day music, in particular The Band of Gypsys, and The Alan Evans Trio does justice to the hallowed but short-lived three piece, precisely by avoiding mere imitation.

And that includes demonstrating dynamics the likes of which go on display in the slightly tongue-in-cheek "They Call Me Velvet." It's notable the track sequencing for the vinyl version of Merkaba differs from the CD, but, regardless, the economy of each successive cut regenerates its own momentum, vis a vis the chopping rhythms and Farfisa-like keyboard sounds of "Have You Seen Him."

Incorporating acoustic guitar, emotive falsetto singing, rubbery rhythms and more fluid Hammond organ, "Givin' to You" almost seems intended as a summary of The Alan Evans Trio's eclectic approach. Merkaba confirms not only how well-ensconced within their influences is the band, but also how it refuses to be bound by them.

Track Listing: Thor; Gone; Life Is Harder To Live; Cosmic Hazel Dust; Who Dare Knock; They Call Me Velvet; Have You Seen Him; Hotcakes Meltdown; Biscuits; Givin' To You.

Personnel: Alan Evans: drums; acoustic guitar (track 5); electric guitar (tracks 1,2,3,5,8,9); bass guitar: (tracks: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6,7, 9,10); Danny Mayer: electric guitar; Beau Sasser: Hammond organ (tracks 1,2,3,5,7,8, 9,10), Fender Contempo bass: (tracks: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), Univox Compac 2 (tracks 6, 9), clavinet (track 6); Mike Feingold: banjo, electric guitar, keyboards (track 6).

Title: Merkaba | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Royal Family Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Cuban Nocturne" CD/LP/Track Review Cuban Nocturne
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Scarlett Roses" CD/LP/Track Review Scarlett Roses
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Synesthesia" CD/LP/Track Review Synesthesia
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Western Edges" CD/LP/Track Review Western Edges
by John Sharpe
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Silent Voices" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Voices
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 29, 2017