12 O'Clock Track: Orrin Evans, "Big Small" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Orrin Evans, "Big Small"

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For nearly two decades Philadelphia's Orrin Evans has been one of the most reliable, impressive, and overlooked pianists in postbop. He's not a revolutionary, but his music always pushes forward while embracing the best of the past. Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, and Elmo Hope all inform his charged, lucid playing, but he also embraces hip-hop and soul without compromising the rigor of his improvisations. He's a founding member of the excellent Tarbaby—with drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Eric Revis, who share his broad sensibilities and quiet progressivism—and his latest recording is with his own steely trio, which features bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Donald Edwards. Today's 12 O'Clock Track, "Big Small," is a blues from the excellent new Flip the Script (due June 12 on Posi-Tone), which also includes a solo interpretation of the MFSB classic "The Sound of Philadelphia." There's no missing the overtones of Monk, Duke Ellington, and Randy Weston, but the way Evans complements the halting groove with his wonderfully jagged phrasing and angular lines is all his own.

Orrin Evans, "Big Small"

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