Friday, August 26, 2011

Soft and Hard Running Bop from Pianist-Composer Faulkner Evans

Faulkner Evans write some early -mid-sixties style Blue Note hard and soft bop pieces that have a nice solidity. That is, on his CD The Point of the Moon (CAP 1024). The pieces range from a sort of Mobley meets Andrew Hill hipness, to flat-out hard bop, all arranged well for a sextet that includes Matt Wilson, drums, Belden Bullock on bass, Gary Versace on organ or accordion, Ron Horton, trumpet, Greg Tardy on tenor, and of course Evans on piano. Versace plays on two tracks only, so perhaps it's better to call this a quintet. It's a good lineup, as you can see, and there is sometimes a Kind of Blue and beyond spatiousness to it all.

Faulkner plays a "composer's piano," meaning that he does not technically overwhelm, but plays appropriate strings of fairly short lines that fit with the changes and swing pretty well. The rest of the band puts out the kind of performances you'd expect of them. There's a nicely arranged version of one of my favorite Alec Wilder songs, "While We're Young," which like many of the others has some nicely put together voicings for the horns.

The title track to my mind is the most interesting piece, with a swing-quasi-tango feel heightened by Versace's accordion, a pointed bass line doubled in the piano, and a long winding head line. It also shows Ron Horton in a very lyrically productive solo mode.

It all is quite good--perhaps not indispensable, but good.

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