A WRTI CD RECOMMENDATION. A TOP RECORDING OF 2015. There are jazz pianists who lead their own bands and then there is the innovative Marcus Roberts, an Ellington acolyte and original Young Lion along with his peer, bandleader and collaborator, Wynton Marsalis. Though some critics shrugged when Roberts released his early opus, Deep In The Shed (Novus, 1998), many – including me – found that work exhilarating and an essential jazz recording. Read my full review at www.wrti.org
A TOP JAZZ RECORD OF 2014: Orrin Evans is a true jazz advocate. One of the busiest leaders on the scene, with more than 20 solo albums in his discography along with countless sideman appearances, Evans has a second-to-none work ethic in and around New York as well as his hometown of Philadelphia. An industrious musician with an impetuous streak (despite recognizing the economies of scale, he stated that he “can’t stand the trio format” in a July 2012 Village Voice interview), Evans thinks bigger, refusing to see limitations in presenting jazz or performing it. Pairing once again with Posi-Tone Records, Evans’ sophomore studio recording of his Captain Black Big Band is a particularly satisfying album that challenges the status quo. Leading a big band within today’s economic realities seems to defy reason, but Mother’s Touch marks a magnificent return of the CBBB and it scores in every way imaginable.