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Evan Whitfield: The Art of Contemporary Improvisation

Dan McClenaghan By

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Evan Whitfield: The Art of Contemporary Improvisation
Firstly, musicians are entertainers—song 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 resume—and his deep classical music training/background—improvisation, 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 entertainment—though 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 out—and gorgeous—reverie, 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.

Track Listing

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.

Personnel

Evan Whitfield: Roland Keyboards.

Album information

Title: The Art of Contemporary Improvisation | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

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