Friday, September 4, 2015

The fine art of musical conversation

William Evans
Subbing for vacationing drummer-singer Patricia Dean's band, pianist William Evans brought his Tampa Bay-area trio to JD's Bistro & Grille in Port Charlotte FL Thursday night, September 2, for what turned out to be a top-flight night of music.

Detroit native Evans splits his time between Florida's Gulf Coast and Basel, Switzerland, where he's a longtime faculty member at the Swiss Jazz School. Evans' band mates on Thursday were two other very fine Tampa Bay-area players, bassist Joe Porter and drummer John Jenkins.

Evans, Porter
Together they engaged in the fine art of musical conversation, where the shared result becomes something far greater than the mere sum of its individual parts. Each of these players is a jazz modernist, able through tone, touch and musical ideas to transform any song into a fresh gem with many facets. To use a bit of art analogy, they were like three sound painters sharing one canvas.

They avoided the "tired tunes" repertoire entirely - which is rare for a club or restaurant gig - and the music was better for it. The trio  did include one so-called standard, albeit one that was a hit so long ago that most listeners wouldn't remember it. The Marty Palitz-Alec Wilder ballad "Moon and Sand" was first recorded back in 1941 by Xavier Cugat with his Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra. It is always great when a musician dusts off some of the infrequently visited pages of the Great American Songbook.

The evening's repertoire also included a bit of Joe Henderson ("Black Narcissus"), Cedar Walton, Wes Montgomery and Thelonious Monk ("Eronel"), among others. Evans, Porter and Jenkins put their own collective stamp on them. And a fine stamp it was.

What a way to get prepared for the forthcoming jazz concert season in southwest Florida. 
William Evans, Joe Porter, John Jenkins

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