Thursday, September 15, 2011

Falkner Evans: The Point of the Moon

CAP Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: The Point of the Moon

No matter where they’re born, serious jazz musicians seem to wind up in New York City at some point during their careers; they simply must test themselves in that arena.

Falkner Evans was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Initially a Beatles fan, he became enamored with jazz after exposure to the likes of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Evans began as a drummer, but switched to piano after hearing another Evans: the legendary Bill.

Falkner Evans played with jazz groups that worked around Tulsa. In the early 1980s, he joined Asleep At The Wheel, one of the better-known western swing bands. After four years of touring with that group, he moved to New York City in ’85 and has been working his way up the jazz ladder. He remains relatively unknown, but this album — his fourth release as a leader — shows enough promise to warrant encouragement.

Evans’ regular group is a trio, but he expanded it to a sextet for this release. His basic rhythm section — Belden Bullock on bass, Matt Wilson on drums — is joined by Greg Tardy (tenor sax), Ron Horton (trumpet) and Gary Versace, who plays organ or accordion on a couple of the tracks. All but one of the songs are Evans compositions; the exception is the standard “While We’re Young.”

This is a straight-ahead jazz unit — the type you’ll hear in clubs country-wide — but it’s smoother and much more interesting than most. The combo swings pleasantly, and the cadre has no weak links.

This group is quite promising; with proper management and more exposure, these guys are capable of achieving name status.

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