Orrin Evans may be the perfect improvisational storm, the controlled harmonic fury cuts a path of lyrical devastation with the stellar release Liberation Blues.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Orrin Evans is the consummate ensemble leader. The Evans passion is legendary and his compositional prowess has many of his contemporaries occasionally rethinking their career path. The best modern jazz pianist working today? Taste is subjective, Liberation Blues is straight to the point. The somewhat conceptual notion behind the release is two fold, homage to his friend Dwayne Burno along with the notion of thinking outside the musical box. Toss in an all star ensemble cast of Sean Jones, JD Allen, Luques Curtis and Bill Stewart and the odds of capturing lighting in a bottle go through the roof. Recorded over two nights at the legendary Smoke, Orrin Evans brings it home with a release that should make a strong showing for album of the year.
Liberation Blues contains two compositions from Burno, "Devil Eyes" which is a darker and somewhat more introspective riff on "Angel Eyes" and "Juanita" which exemplifies Burno's talent went far deeper than that of an instrumentalist. Swing. You feel it or you don't, Dwayne could swing. Evans wheelhouse includes ballads with "Anysha" as strong as any that Evans has recorded. JD Allen's tone provides a lyrical sense of purpose and the chemistry seems to leap from stage. The Paul Motion tune "Mumbo Jumbo" is another jewel with both JD Allen and Sean Jones taking the harmonic freedom offered and making this tune their own composition if only for one night.
Bill Steward and Luques Curtis take in the pocket to the next dimension while fabulous vocalist Joanna Pascale closes the release with "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes." The continued evolution of Orrin Evans is a beautiful thing but...you already knew that.
Tracks: The Liberation Blues Suite (For Dwayne Allen Burno)
Devil Eyes; Juanita; A Lil D.A.B. a do Ya; A Free Man?; Liberation Blues.
Simply Green; Anysha; Meant To Shine; Mumbo Jumbo; How High The Moon; The Theme;
Encore - The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.
Personnel: Sean Jones Trumpet (except on 7, 10, 11, 12); JD Allen: Tenor Saxophone (except on 10,11,12); Orrin Evans: Piano; Luques Curtis: Bass; Bill Stewart: Drums; Joanna Pascale (12 only).