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Friday, June 18, 2010

Peter Evans Quartet - Live In Lisbon (Clean Feed, 2010) ****

Liner notes rarely describe the process used (and why should they?), yet on this album it is almost programmatic : "In addition to being an interesting way to connect improvisation with fixed materials the players are likely to already have under their fingers, it is also great fun to see what elements of surprise we can squeeze out of something that, on its surface, may seem very familiar".So writes trumpeter Peter Evans in the liner notes of this incredibly jazzy yet equally modern piece of music. The familiar material are harmonies and melody from "All The Things You Are", "Lush Life" and "Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love", to name but a few.

Evans is joined by Ricardo Gallo on piano, Tom Blancarte on bass and Kevin Shea on drums. The music is incredibly complex. Themes change, tempos change, rhythms change : and this several times within the same piece, and not at the same moment, but sometimes in overlaying structures, demanding incredible skills (and concentration!) from the musicians. The result is nice. Inventiveness abounds, the music changes itself the whole time, like a kind of sonic caleidoscope: you can't know what comes next, yet it follows logically and unpredictably from the previous notes, all in the same frame and structural context. The creative discipline and musicianship are stellar.

Yet in the end, it gives me a little bit the same feeling as the later albums by the Empty Cage Quartet, or some of Dave Douglas' music: the musical skills combined with intellectual play with structure create a more distant feel than the expressive and soulful straight from the heart jazz that gets my preference. It is musicians' music of a very high level.

Listen and download from eMusic.

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef


Ricardo Gallo said...

Hi there, nice to read the review. I can see what you say at the end that the intellectual play with structure creates a distant feel, and I also recognize is a matter of personal preference. And perhaps that distant feel is true in some pieces more than others, also perhaps is more intentional in some pieces than in others. But as an insider I can tell you there is a lot of freedom beyond the complex structures, and I think, and perhaps P.Evans would agree, that within that freedom AND even within the complex structures there can be perceived a great deal of expression that hopefully is appreciated by anyone, musician or not. In any case, thanks for listening and spreading the word.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steff! On this one, I find you extremely severe! So what, Charlie Parker, Diz, Coltrane, and Miles, think about them! They were not distant, and yet, don't we adore them and their music, just like we adore this live recording by a major group? To me, 5 stars without any hesitation... But like Ricardo Galo said, it's a matter of personal preference. I would add, a matter of personal experience too... ;-)
Iron Man from Citizen Jazz :=)