Autour de Bill Evans (Effendi Records) brings together four of Montreal's accomplished jazz musicians in a homage and reworking of the music and musical conception of the late Bill Evans. Unlike some tribute albums, this music stands on its own as top-tier jazz in its own right.
First, the players: Frank Lozano, tenor saxophone, Francois Bourassa, piano, Michel Donato, acoustic bass, and Pierre Tanguay, drums. All have quite obviously listened closely to and absorbed the impact of the Bill Evans style. There are notable Evans compositions, things Bill played in his career, a Bourassa original, and something called "Sno Peas" by Phil Markowitz.
The music consists of wholly integral improvisations/group forays into the advanced harmo-melodic mode that Evans made so much out of. The quartet format expands the Evans style and thanks to Lozano's limber facility, expands the sound and gives it a furtherance that a trio might not. But all the players sound great.
This is music of definite impact, improvisation of a very high order, and music Bill Evans would have dug.