193

Falkner Evans: The Point of the Moon

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Falkner Evans: The Point of the Moon Pianist Falkner Evans is a distant relative of the great American novelist William Faulkner, by the same obscure Southern logic by which Al Gore and Gore Vidal are related. He is also a former pianist for the tight Western swing outfit Asleep at the Wheel and leader of an acclaimed piano trio.

Evans's famed ancestor once wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Seen in the right light, this is not a bad axiom for 21st century jazz, in which new and vital music is often made through a judicious mish-mash of past decades' styles and methods—without becoming sterile museum fare.

A fitting thought, too, for enjoying Evans's The Point of the Moon, on which the band sounds like the great Mosaic (Blue Note, 1962)-era Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: driving, soulful and intelligent. Indeed, the record fairly overflows with the enthusiasm of a man accustomed to the piano trio now given a wider range of musical materials to work with: namely, the fine horns of trumpeter Ron Horton and saxophonist Greg Tardy (alumni of Andrew Hill's big band). As with Blakey, Evans' arrangements are richly developed and closely argued. This is apparent from the bright, bluesy horn line that opens "Altered Soul," or on "Slightest Movement" and the waltz-time standard "While We're Young."

Evans exhibits an admirable economy of organization of the musicians, compositions and arrangement. As a result, Evans's quintet is able to express a wealth of ideas and sounds in little time and without overdoing things. On "Drawing In," the solos are ingeniously woven into the long statement of the theme itself. By its end, the track has managed to present the musical personality of each of band members in some detail and yet it seems like the piece has barely begun.

In pursuit of this economy of means, Evans the soloist does not hog the limelight. But his solos, when they occur, have the same drive, soul and smarts that characterize the album overall. His solo on "Altered Soul" is not a series of short statements, but rather a long, complex paragraph-length sentence, marked by the rhythmic intent of the composition—not unlike many sentences written by his Mississippi forebear. Meanwhile, on "Dorsoduro," the twisting, vaguely sad melodic line of which calls to mind the compositions of pianist Dick Twardzik—like with Chet Baker on Chet in Paris, Vol. 1 (EmArcy/Barclay, 1956)—Evans accents his solo with elegant blues block chords in the manner of Red Garland.

Tardy is fine, his forward sound tinged by free and R&B playing, while Horton has a clean, florid sound. The band is rounded out by Evans' regular trio mates, bassist Belden Bullock and drummer Matt Wilson, whose excellent That's Gonna Leave A Mark (Palmetto, 2009) demonstrated his strengths as a leader. The album's closing duo of tracks feature Gary Versace on very retro organ and accordion, further broadening the album's instrumentarium.


Track Listing: Altered Soul; Drawing In; Dorsoduro; Cheer Up; O Grande Amor; Slightest Movement; While We're Young; Off The Top; The Point Of The Moon.

Personnel: Ron Horton: trumpet; Greg Tardy: tenor saxophone; Falkner Evans: piano; Gary Versace: organ (8), accordion (9); Belden Bullock: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: CAP | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "The Long Slog" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Slog
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "El Toro" CD/LP/Track Review El Toro
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Imagine That" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine That
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Musings" CD/LP/Track Review Musings
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!