Orrin Evans

Grown Folk Bizness

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Unlike Evans' two previous Criss Cross efforts, this one contains no original compositions. It also showcases Evans almost entirely in a trio setting. After the first track, an intensive solo piano investigation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair," bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Ralph Peterson join Evans on several standards and pieces culled from post-bop repertoire. Cedar Walton's "Firm Roots" kicks off the trio portion with a burning intensity. Then Evans applies his talents to "That Old Feeling," Richie Beirach's "Elm," the Gerry Mulligan-associated "Bernie's Tune," and Ralph Peterson's hard-swinging, open-ended "Volition," one of the best tracks on the album. Peterson's brush work is particularly brilliant. His rapport with Whitaker is also remarkable, considering that this session was one of their very first mutual encounters.

The addition of Ralph Bowen's alto makes for an eventful reading of Monk's "Rhythm-a-Ning," and Sam Newsome's highly original soprano work is indispensable on Wayne Shorter's "Toy Tune." For the finale, both horns (Bowen on tenor this time) join for Eddie Allen's grooving "Route 80 East."

Evans doesn't sound entirely comfortable with some of the music he chose to tackle (and he admits as much in the liner notes), but as a result, rather than hearing him coast and take it easy, you get to hear him stretch his improvisational prowess and musical intelligence to their limits. While Grown Folk Bizness doesn't add anything to Evans' catalog as a composer, it testifies eloquently to the state of his art at the time.

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