Presence (feat. The Captain Black Big Band)

Presence (feat. The Captain Black Big Band)

Though pianist Orrin Evans has earned global renown, he’s always carried a torch for his local Philadelphia jazz scene. The third LP—and second in the live setting—from his ferocious big band is culled from performances at two Philly clubs, and there’s no mistaking the high spirit and camaraderie that prevailed on those bandstands. This is modern, tightly executed yet still spontaneous, and hard-charging music. The composers are not just Evans but trombonist David Gibson (“The Scythe”), saxophonist Troy Roberts (the transcendentally funky “Trams”), and trumpeters Josh Lawrence (“Presence”) and John Raymond (the majestic “Onward”). Lawrence and Raymond are the credited arrangers, respectively, on two of Evans’ tunes (“Answer,” “Flip the Script”). They’re all monster soloists as well: Roberts’ tenor feature on “Question” (by longtime Evans colleague Eric Revis) is a marvel of loose, hurtling swing and sheer endurance. With its formidable talent pool, the CBBB captures Evans’ musical ideals as vividly as any project he’s documented.

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