Orrin Evans

Meant to Shine

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Pianist Orrin Evans kicks his visibility up a notch with this move to the Palmetto label. He is furnished with a superb-sounding instrument, one that vividly captures his aggressive but sparklingly clear attack. The supporting players -- bassist Eric Revis, drummer Gene Jackson, and alternating saxophonists Sam Newsome and Ralph Bowen -- are seasoned veterans of Evans' gigs and recording sessions. Among the six Evans originals is one of his most ambitious pieces to date, the ten-plus minute "Commitment." The band sustains that searching quality throughout, whether it's the moody, medium swing of "M.B.B.S." and "Meant to Shine," the romantic tones of "Dawn Marie," the shifting meters of "Professor Farworthy," or the up-tempo onslaught of "Don't Write No Shit About Me" (a request that can't be honored, unfortunately). Bowen, who is heard on bass clarinet, flute, and soprano as well as tenor sax, pens a bright flute feature in three called "Elevation," while Revis' strutting, angular "JD's Revenge" closes out the disc. Evans seems to reach new heights with every outing; the only drawback to this one is its relatively brief duration.

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