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Captain Black Big Band

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 29, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Captain Black Big Band, led by pianist Orrin Evans, is a high-intensity, swinging affair featuring a number of top soloists from the jazz scenes of New York and Philadelphia. Recorded during three different live performances in 2010, the group features a rotating cast of thirty-eight musicians over seven tracks. Despite the lack of a cohesive unit, the disc maintains stunning consistency with undeniable spirit and musical drive. From the opening "Art of War," a blistering, boppish piece featuring a jaw-dropping solo by alto saxophonist Rob Landham, the bands tight ensemble passages and intuitive use of dynamics creates an unrelenting high-energy vibe. The band is propelled by lead trumpeter Walter White, who, as a soloist, navigates through the up-tempo maze of Evans' "Big Jimmy" with strength and cleverness. Veteran saxophonist Ralph Bowen follows White on "Big Jimmy" with flowing soprano lines. Evans contributes as a composer on four tracks and arranger on the closing "Jena 6," a Mingus-like anthem-of-a-piece with an impressive opening piano cadenza by Neal Podgurski and other-worldly, emotive wailing from alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw. The presence of Podgurski and pianist Jim Holton on the title track allows Evans the freedom to leave the piano bench and take on a director's role. Perhaps the ability to stand out in front of the band and keep all involved motivated is the key to Evans' success. The results here are fresh, forward thinking and a cut above the typical big band fare. --John Barron - JazzReview.com

Putting together a big band in these dicey economic times is a tough proposition at best, but pianist and composer Orin Evans is bucking the odds with this large ensemble that features tight ensemble playing and fine soloing. It is a particularly large band and this allows them to play several distinct textures and work them into the bands overall sound. The ensemble meshes nicely like a finely woven garment and everybody is on the same page throughout the album. Recorded live in New York City and Philadelphia, the band plays with considerable panache, with a crisp brashness to the horns and subtle intricate playing from the rhythm section. Ralph Peterson s Act of War shows the band honoring the big band tradition of the past, while bringing it at warp speed into the present. The arrangement is very effective and frames Rob Landham s alto saxophone solo quite nicely. Here s the Captain keeps the tempo moving briskly, with Evans in particular taking a rippling piano solo the fits in well with the overall motif of the music. The crowd responds the music heartily, urging the soloists on and providing hearty applause to the musicians. Several Orrin Evan originals conclude the album, and this is a good thing as he has a bold and thoughtful ear and writes some fine tunes including Jena 6 a protest piece that retains the nature of social commentary while swinging quite nicely. There are precious few big bands left on the jazz scene, so this group is an exciting addition to their ranks. The overall musicianship is excellent and the music remains exciting and compelling throughout. --Tim Niland - Music And More

Some of the same energy of the Sanabria record lives in Captain Black Big Band (Posi-Tone), the first album from a new large ensemble led by the pianist Orrin Evans. Recorded at spots around Philadelphia and New York City over the past year, it is deep in the tradition of African-American East Coast jazz since the mid- 60s, percussive, punching and hard swinging; it might make you think of big bands led by Charles Tolliver, Charles Mingus and Clifford Jordan. And with its multiple composers and even multiple pianists, it s got range. (Mr. Evans conducts as well; when he does, others take his keyboard bench.) There are many soloists worth mentioning here the trumpe --Ben Ratliff - New York Times

Putting together a big band in these dicey economic times is a tough proposition at best, but pianist and composer Orin Evans is bucking the odds with this large ensemble that features tight ensemble playing and fine soloing. It is a particularly large band and this allows them to play several distinct textures and work them into the bands overall sound. The ensemble meshes nicely like a finely woven garment and everybody is on the same page throughout the album. Recorded live in New York City and Philadelphia, the band plays with considerable panache, with a crisp brashness to the horns and subtle intricate playing from the rhythm section. Ralph Peterson s Act of War shows the band honoring the big band tradition of the past, while bringing it at warp speed into the present. The arrangement is very effective and frames Rob Landham s alto saxophone solo quite nicely. Here s the Captain keeps the tempo moving briskly, with Evans in particular taking a rippling piano solo the fits in well with the overall motif of the music. The crowd responds the music heartily, urging the soloists on and providing hearty applause to the musicians. Several Orrin Evan originals conclude the album, and this is a good thing as he has a bold and thoughtful ear and writes some fine tunes including Jena 6 a protest piece that retains the nature of social commentary while swinging quite nicely. There are precious few big bands left on the jazz scene, so this group is an exciting addition to their ranks. The overall musicianship is excellent and the music remains exciting and compelling throughout. --Tim Niland - Music And More

Some of the same energy of the Sanabria record lives in Captain Black Big Band (Posi-Tone), the first album from a new large ensemble led by the pianist Orrin Evans. Recorded at spots around Philadelphia and New York City over the past year, it is deep in the tradition of African-American East Coast jazz since the mid- 60s, percussive, punching and hard swinging; it might make you think of big bands led by Charles Tolliver, Charles Mingus and Clifford Jordan. And with its multiple composers and even multiple pianists, it s got range. (Mr. Evans conducts as well; when he does, others take his keyboard bench.) There are many soloists worth mentioning here the trumpeter Walter White, the drummer Anwar Marshall, the pianist Neil Podgurski. But the alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw outdoes them all with his performance at the end of Mr. Evans s alternately peaceful and baleful piece Jena 6. It is a prolonged and controlled fury, definitely one of the best improvisations I ve heard this year. --Ben Ratliff - New York Times

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Product details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Posi-Tone Records
  • ASIN: B004QQ1Z62
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,668 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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