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Gabe Evens: The Wrong Waltz

Geannine Reid By

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Gabe Evens is the Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano, Composition and Arranging at the University of Louisville, Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program. Evens is a pianist with a vibrant and robust approach to his composing and playing and his command of harmony and trio playing is simply amazing. The Wrong Waltz is Evens album of ten original compositions for piano trio with a wide variety of styles: bebop, hard-bop, fusion, and modal genres. The music is lyrical, takes unexpected twists and turns -conveys a strong mood, and feels boundless.

Joined by able bassist Lynn Seaton and the empathetic Ed Soph on drums, Evens constructs a fine balance of harmonically rich originals with beautiful singing melodies for the trio to converse through. "Tease Me" opens the set, it's a sophisticated swinger that is harmonically informed and features Evens playing flowing improvised lines, with clarity and style. His improvising style is thoughtful as the trio builds to a musical climax. Seaton makes a musical statement, covering a wide range and incorporating musical double stops. The trio trades eights after Seaton's solo, Soph's drumming is swinging, interactive and full of energy.

"Loud, Quiet, Loud in Blue" is a fine composition by Evens that uses hits, pedal points, and Seaton doubles Evans right hand for some parts with great result. Seaton and Soph subtly push forward and relax at all the right moments, setting up Evens playing that is modern, soulful, strutting and magically melodic. Seaton performs a rich arco solo that is bluesy and entertaining with flurries, wide leaps and much interaction with Evens.

"Keep Your Head Down" is a swirling straight eight selection that displays Evens subtle compositional mastery. The counterpoint between the doubled bass line and the melody is very effective. The shifting time and arching phrases build energy. Evens solo is lyrical and as methodical in development of motifs and themes, as is the written melody, giving the entire selection a strong cohesive sound that entertains and inspires.

The title track is an up-tempo waltz that has a fresh form and swingable melody. Seaton's clear bass sound takes the first solo. His playing is virtuosic and confident. Both Evens and Soph interact and help build his solo to a logical conclusion. Evens continues in the same mind set for his solo. Constantly listening to Soph and Seaton for inspiration and developmental elements to incorporate into his lines, harmony, and rhythmic activity. The trio certainly has their own sound and the joy and respect they have for each other is tangible and empathetic.

Track Listing: Tease Me; The Wrong Waltz; Stand at the Front of Your Mat; Something Like Love; Loud, Quiet, Loud in Blue; Keep Your Head Down; Yoko and the Spotless, Spotless Clan; Billy Strayhorn; The Goodbye Hug; Untrained, Untrodden, Untrue.

Personnel: Gabe Evens: piano; Lynn Seaton: bass; Ed Soph: drums

Title: The Wrong Waltz | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

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