3

Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola

Keith Henry Brown By

Sign in to view read count
Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band
Dizzy's Club Coca Cola
New York, NY
October 6, 2013

Though the band leader/pianist /composer Sun Ra spoke of being part of an "Angel Race" from Saturn, his music, as avant-garde as it could sometimes be, was for the large part, accessible. One of his lifetime heroes was Duke Ellington, not just for his ability to lead a brilliant orchestra, but also for the melodic purity of his compositions. Ra kept the swing in his big band, despite the fact that he believed his art was inherited from the farthest reaches of space. This was apparent in a recent performance of Orrin Evans' Captain Black Big Band at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola. Often tribute bands play the music of a late great artist by either suggesting the past or emulating it. But Orrin Evans and his group of young master musicians embodied the swing, the emotion and the sheer ferociousness of a Sun Ra concert, circa 1974.

The band seemed to a swoop onto the stage rather than enter from stage left; Evans opened with a Duke-like solo piano introduction leading into the familiar Ra staple, "Space Is The Place." Evans began to whisper, then shout the word "space," as the band systematically followed suit. In moments, the music built up to a frenzied crescendo and the audience experienced a lift-off, with Evans' rolling piano playing providing a horizontal thrust. "Space" segued into "Rocket Number Nine," where the band members chanted a resplendent journey to Venus. Here, lead saxophonist Todd Bashore unleashed a transient, surprisingly propulsive solo, powered in part by Nasheet Waits startlingly precise thrashing, suggesting a wild, eventful ride to the heavens. By this point in the evening, everyone in the room became swept up by the experience and Orrin Evans was firmly in place as a gracious guide through Sun Ra's universe. "The Hour Of Parting," a lovely tune made famous by Teddy Wilson and his orchestra, featured an abstract solo by the youthful bassist Luques Curtis that exhibited the uniqueness of a Sun Ra performance into the confines of a well known standard. We returned now to the heavens with Evan's chunky opening to "We Travel The Space Ways"—a composition bearing Ra's signature avant- garde rhythms with a firmly grounded swing.

"Interplanetary Music" brought forth the awesome might of a fully operational Captain Black Big Band, featuring Bashore's big, bold solo as well as a sensitive and respectable turn by fine trombonist David Gibson.

Ending the night for a soft landing was "Demon's Lullaby," a happy, funky stomp where every member of Evan's band got to swing in a more traditional vein. A fitting end to an exceptional night of mind-blowing sounds.

Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Electric Hot Tuna at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center" Live Reviews Electric Hot Tuna at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center
by Doug Collette
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Monterey Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Monterey Jazz Festival 2016
by Josef Woodard
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "The Fairfield Four in Little Rock" Live Reviews The Fairfield Four in Little Rock
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 19, 2016
Read "LiV Warfield At the Iridium" Live Reviews LiV Warfield At the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: February 28, 2016
Read "Kurt Elling at Bing Concert Hall" Live Reviews Kurt Elling at Bing Concert Hall
by Lily O'Brien
Published: March 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!