Firstly, musicians are entertainerssong and dance men and women of sorts. Pianist Evan Blair Whitfield is no stranger to the entertainment side of the art. He is a multi-disciplinary performing-arts master, having worked in musical theatre productions, opera, ballet and the cruise entertainment industry. With this resumeand his deep classical music training/backgroundimprovisation, the heart of jazz, might have taken a back seat. Whitfied's The Art Of Contemporary Improvisation says that isn't so.
The album is completely improvised, an erudite journey through new age, jazz and blues, avant-garde and classical musings, straight from the mind and soul of Whitfield.
With all his other professional irons in multiple fires, this solo effort feels less like for-the-audience entertainmentthough it certainly is that. But it is more personal, exuding more of a mood of artistic self-discovery, as though Whitfield is making this music for himself as much as for the listener.
"Tribal Incantations" opens on a cerebral, brooding mood which gearshifts about halfway in, becoming a playful, prancing bit of gaiety which morphs back to a near ponderousness. "Invention And Fantasy In A" is tagged as "Jazz & Blues" on Whitfield's Soundcloud page, but it sounds more like an intricate classical work. "My Sister's Planet" is a patiently laid outand gorgeousreverie, introspective, brimming with dark tones. "The Bees Song" opens with swarming notes, a feverish, glissando-like beauty; and "Boppity" bops into a compelling playfulness, as much fun as Thelonious Monk's "Skippy" or "Bemsha Swing."
The Art of Contemporary Improvisation is Evan Blair Whitfield's ode to in-the-moment invention, a wide-ranging set full of vitality and verve.
My Sister’s Planet; The Bees Song; Tribal Incantations; Boppity; Ode to Ravel - Impressionistic Soundscape #1; Interdimensional Twilight Zone; Ostinatonitis; Invention and Fantasy in A Maj; Theme for Melancholic Lovers; Compatibulation; Lamentation - Impressionistic Landscape #2.