Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Peter Evans, Zebulon

Peter Evans was and is a trumpet player who never ceases to surprise me. When I first heard the solo album he did for Evan Parker a number of years ago I thought, "huh?" And it's been that way ever since, whether it's with MOPDTK, with others or on his own. He is a startling player who uses a formidable technique in the service of his very own expression, in sounds, in notes, in conception.

So it is with a trio of John Hebert (bass) and Kassa Overall (drums), in a live set in Brooklyn, appropriately entitled Zebulon (More is More 131) (the name of the club). It's four Evans compositions taken with a maximum of torque, drive and freedom.

When you deal with digital media there are no grooves from a technical point of view, but in all other ways, groove applies here. They swing, they smoke and Evans is off to the races without a horse.

The rhythm team is right there and Hebert gets some nice moments, Overall swings it for all it's worth, but this is Evan's time to construct a post-bop, post-swing, post-post, and then deconstruct it all, take it into pieces, exaggerate phrases like a present-day Lester Bowie, then turn it all upside down.

Perhaps the wildest moments are saved for the final number, "Carnival," which is a kind of "Carnival of Venice" for a trumpet in a weightless vacuum, soaring off to a place unknown and perhaps very far away. Hebert arcos like a man possessed, Peter hits some periodic accents that fall polyrhythmically between beats and Kassa is right there with it. They fall into a maddening kind of boogie phrase while Hebert drones in polyrhythms, then they all take off again.

This is a set that is wild: wildly funny, wildly frenetic, almost mock frenetic, and so expressive it takes you along on its back and you are out there with them.

In short, Peter Evans steps out with an excellent trio and shows himself to be a titan among men, so to speak. Totally bonkers, technically amazing and absolutely musical, Evans triumphs! You just might not want to do without this one!

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