Orrin Evans, Flip The Script (Posi-Tone)
Orrin Evans is a pianist, composer and bandleader whose reputation has been steadily rising, particularly with his Captain Black Big Band. But on his latest recording,Flip The Script, we find Evans equally powerful in the trio setting. From the first tune, “Question,” my personal answer was “Hell, yeah!” And that’s the way I felt throughout the album. Evans and his bandmates Ben Wolfe on bass and Donald Edwards on drums shoot out of the gate at a blindingly fast tempo on this Eric Revis tune, showing off a rare combination of technique and taste. It’s the beginning of a fine ride of musical story-telling with sublime song choice and pacing. Flip The Script is packed with intricate twists, turns and changes. It’s a killer straightahead date with bright, modern edges. On the sad, lovely ballad “When,” Evans has just the right touch, filling and opening space for Wolfe and Edwards to ebb and flow. Edwards’ mallet work on the tune is especially poised and understated. Also fine are very cool takes on Luther Vandross’ “A Brand New Day” and the standard “Someday My Prince Will Come” as well as Evans originals “TC’s Blues” and “The Answer.” My favorite moment on the recording is a solo piano take of “The Sound Of Philadelphia.” Most people know this as the theme song from “Soul Train,” the seminal black music TV show. We lost Don Cornelius, the show’s creator and host, earlier this year. And Mr. Evans, a Philly kid at heart, offers a fitting tribute. It’s a quietly stunning epilogue to a thrilling record.
–Frank Alkyer, Publisher