288

Bill Evans: Soul Insider

By

Sign in to view read count
With the release of Soul Insider, saxophonist Bill Evans lays his own claim to the funk and groove that seems to be linear descendants from the work that Eddie Harris and Les McCann did in the 1960’s. Lest anyone mistake Evans’ intentions and the derivation of the music he honors, McCann contributes the vocals to two of the songs for which he wrote the lyrics, “Lose My Number” and “You Sure Look Good To Me.” While Evans wrote all of the tunes, McCann, whose stroke still prevents him from the use of both hands on piano, wrote the lyrics with his typical approach involving good humor and flirtatiousness. Like, “Come out of the kitchen, put down the frying pan, Don’t undress in the dark, I want to see everything I can.”

But those vocals occur on just two of the tracks. Even those McCann’s presence is a surprising highlight of the CD, Evans has unified the concept of the funk album so that the real unifying presence, beyond his own sax work, is the groove. Like some of John Scofield’s recent jazz jam recordings, Evans has established a consistent feel throughout Soul Insider, even as some of the sidemen are substituted and even as Evans switches from, say, tenor sax to soprano to achieve the effects he seeks.

Evans’ searching solo in the middle of “Lose My Number,” creating an ethereal effect like that of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” contrasts with his gravely, deep-voiced bottom lines on “Big Mama,” mixed to include his work on vocoder as well.

Indeed, Scofield shows up on “Gimme Some” and “Thump,” and Evans’ group falls seamlessly into the instantly identifiable groove that Scofield claims. Joining the tradition of saxophonists who worked with Scofield—like Joe Lovano or Eddie Harris himself, not to mention soul saxophonists like Maceo Parker—Evans, in spite of his versatility from previous work with John McLaughlin and Miles Davis, definitely enjoyed making this album, as obviously did all of the other participants. The infectiousness of the music is eminently danceable, from the shuffle rhythm of the final track to the groove joining the serpentine lines of “Vans Joint,” not to mention those of the next track, “Cool Eddie,” as well.

Soul Insider can’t be adequately reviewed without mentioning the cohesion of the back-up group as well, from Steve Jordan’s on-the-mark drumming, reminiscent of an Idris Muhammad beat, to Ricky Peterson’s B-3 accents akin to Don Patterson’s soulful recordings with Harris.

A totally enjoyable album, Evans no doubt will be joining the ranks of the touring musicians this summer who ignite the jazz festivals with those special moments that the attendees remember for years, as legions still remember McCann’s and Harris’s legendary performance at Montreux.


Track Listing: Vans Joint, Cool Eddie, Lose My Number, Cheeks, You Sure Look Good To Me, Big Mama, Sneaky, Gimme Some, Older Days, Thump, The Shorty Shuffle

Personnel: Bill Evans, soprano, alto, tenor & baritone sax, vocoder; Ricky Peterson, piano, B-3 organ; Dean Brown, John Scofield, guitar; James Genus, Tim Lefebvre, bass; Steve Jordan, drums; Don Alias, percussion; Les McCann, vocals; Vaneese Thomas, background vocals.

Year Released: 2003 | Style: Contemporary/Smooth


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Hotel Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Heart Of Gold: Live In Aarhus" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Of Gold: Live In Aarhus
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Symmetry" CD/LP/Track Review Symmetry
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "Miles Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Smiles
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Troy Collins
Published: October 20, 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!