Bill Evans compositions are covered on a fairly regular basis. An entire release devoted to perhaps the greatest harmonic genius in improvisational music is not uncommon, a release that pushes the music forward is uncommon. Pat Hall has assembled a first rate trombone / organ trio to examine four Evans classics, a Rogers and Hart standard and two compositions from bassist Scott LaFaro and composer Earl Zindars who are both closely tied to the Evans legacy. The result is a more contemporary excursion down that rare harmonic road less traveled where Bill Evans became a legend.
The quiet reverence of Evans now is meticulously etched with soul, swing and a lyrical edge that takes these treasured compositions to the next level of possibilities rather than the same predictable formatted covers so often released. While Pat Hall could stand on stage with any ensemble, his ability to blend and gently guide this eclectic 4tet is worthy of special note. Greg "Organ Monk" Lewis is a critically acclaimed performer cut from the Larry Young mold while guitarist Marvin Sewell and drummer Mike Campenni provide the finesse necessary to help tie these compositions together. The arrangements are solid yet forward thinking while the execution is exemplary.
Admittedly, Bill Evans purists may at first balk at such an unorthodox attempt to pay tribute while the more harmonically in tune will be entranced at the possibilities that are always inside a beautiful melody.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Tracks: Gloria's Step; Waltz For Debby; Spring Is Here; Elsa; Know What I Mean?; Time Remembered; Peri's Scope.
Personnel: Pat Hall: Trombone; Greg "Organ Monk" Lewis: Hammon Organ; Marvin Sewell: Guitar; Mike Campenni: Drums.