Media Alert: Pat Hall’s Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans (Unseen Rain UR9960) Street Date August 5, 2014
Pat Hall: Trombone, Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis: Organ, Marvin Sewell: Guitar, Mike Campenni: Drums
CD Review: http://www.jsojazzscene.org/cdreviews.htm
by George Fendel
Considering the fact that Bill Evans passed away nearly 35 years ago, this second of two tribute recordings, released in the same month, are proof of his timeless legacy. While this album doesn’t have the emotional pull of the disc reviewed above, it features Evans tunes, coincidentally I’m sure, that are not included in the Martin Wind release. Surely you remember titles such as “Gloria’s Step,” “Elsa,” “Time Remembered” and “Peri’s Scope,” to name a few of the high points. Hall’s trombone possesses the Bob Brookmeyer-like touch of wit and charm, and his improvisational choruses never veer too far off the center of the highway. Hall’s quartet includes Greg Lewis, organ, Marvin Sewell, guitar, and Mike Campenni, drums. Lewis does no harm on organ. But for an album honoring Bill Evans, I would have preferred a pianist over the Hammond. Having said that, I should add that any Evans tribute feeds my “good side,” and while this is something of a detour, it works for me.
Unseen Rain Records; 2014; appx. 56 minutes.
Bassist and composer Joris Teepe, who first appeared on Unseen Rain on Lewis Porter’s Trio Solo, has reason to be Workaholic. While his adroit bass playing is constantly in-demand by other jazz greats, he presents here an extraordinary album of his own music. Along with Joris on double-bass and electric bass, Workaholic features legendary drummer Mike Clark of Herbie Handcock’s Headhunters fame, Josh Evans on trumpet, Adam Kolker on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet and Jon Davis on piano. Whether swinging or deeply funky, this tight, post-bop outing is stellar. Produced by Jack DeSalvo
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Available on iTunes, amazon and everywhere else Tuesday, July 29, 2014.
Pat Hall – Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans
“Well, only one more tribute album,” – says Blase Dzhazfen, who barely glanced at the cover of this CD. But putting the disc on to listen to it once, from the first bars, makes sure that this tribute is at least unusual, and in essence – is unique in many respects. Judge for yourself. The outstanding jazz pianist Bill Evans is loved by many. Pianists and piano jazz trios have played his music, or at least try to recreate it in their own way to convey the amazing harmonic and rhythmic constructions of Evans. He dedicated his work to trumpeter Miles Davis, a former partner of Bill and guitarist John McLaughlin. But I have never heard until now (though maybe it’s a matter of my lack of knowledge) the music for our Bill Evans led by the trombone.
Pat Hall did it. Yes, and it’s radical! For this recording he assembled a quartet in which there is no pianist. Let’s agree – that is bold in itself. Hall became partners with the great Hammond organ master Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis, guitarist Marvin Sewell and drummer Mark Campenni. Hall also built his program unconventionally. Logically, when an album is dedicated to a musician, that musician’s works are included. And with Bill Evans, of course, it is the case here. Four of the tunes are Bill’s, including Time Remembered and his most popular song Waltz For Debby. But along with them in this Hall tribute is Gloria’s Step by Scott La Faro, a member of one of the best Evan’s trios and the standard by Rogers and Hart, Spring Is Here and the composition by Earl Zindars, Elsa. It is quite obvious that Hall sought primarily to convey the spirit of Evan’s music and to present this band’s versions of his works. And with a choice of repertoire like this, the approach can really be anything, if only turning Evan’s creative ideas into executable material.
Of course, to judge how successfully Pat Hall implemented this plans, just listen. For my taste, a musician who can record this album itself is an asset. Indeed it happened. It’s enough to listen to the lyrical and spiritual sound of his trombone in Spring Is Here, and to evaluate Hall’s solo in Waltz For Debby to be convinced. The congenial quartet leader works well with Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis. He also wondered if the Hammond can sound very different than we are used to and also makesthe organ sound just great, for example, on Peri’s Scope. I must mention Sewell the guitarist, whose playing on Elsa and Time Remembered are beyond praise.
This is such an unusual album and is certainly worth a listen. And still worth reading the brilliant, full of irony in relation to Evan’s lovers stereotypes liner notes from Chris Kelsey. Hall and his colleagues broke a lot of them in this project and Kelsey writes very well about it.