Throughout the 1950s and '60s, cornetist Doc Evans kept traditional jazz and Dixieland alive in Minneapolis. He could have moved to New York or Chicago many times over, which probably would have helped gain him more fame, but Evans simply preferred the atmosphere of Minneapolis. He was able to work regularly and he was appreciated by the local community. Fortunately he had an excellent relationship with the Audiophile label and recorded quite a few excellent sets. Jazzology has been gradually reissuing Evans' recordings, usually with two full albums on a CD. At the Gas Light brings back the album of the same name from 1967 plus the LP Classics of the '20s which was recorded in 1957. Although the two groups are completely different other than the leader, there is a unity and a similarity to the feel of the two sessions. The Gaslight set has some ragtime ("Creole Belles"), a surprising swing era feature ("Big Noise from Winnetka") and selections identified with Louis Armstrong and the 1920s in general. Classics of the '20s had cornetist Bob Gruenenfelder added on half of the selections. His interplay with Evans is excellent. The earlier date has more Armstrong along with King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton. But while Doc Evans hints at his predecessors in spots, he and his musicians simply play their own way, being creative within the boundaries of the genre and adding to the music's legacy. The music is always fun and full of spirit.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow