The Evenfall Quartet
The Evenfall Quartet consists of Bassist Brad Hallen, Mark Earley (tenor sax), Joe â€œSonnyâ€ Barbato (piano), and Jerzy Jurek Glod (drums). The band performs a collection of American Songbook favorites and an original song by Lucky Thompson, recorded in the style and manner of the staples of the small group catalogues of the late 40s and 50s.
Brad Hallen explains, â€œIn those days you’d bring the band into a studio and pick some songs you all knew and enjoyed playing together, made arrangements on the spot with input from everyone, and just played â€“ you might do several takes of each tune, but you’d pick the best one and go with it, without any editing. If something went wrong you’d just do it again. But this is exactly how we played these songs that day.
All jazz fans know that Miles Davis brought his band in to record for Prestige in 1955 and finished four LPs worth of performances in two days (and Brad and the band nod to those sessions here with their version of â€If I Were a Bell). But this was no rare happenstance literally hundreds of small group jazz sessions were made like this in the middle of the last century celebrations of the working lives of musicians who had learned a body of songs that allowed them to come together and play their hearts out without a bulky book of charts that glued their eyes to a piece of paper. It was the common language, and years of playing honed their abilities to make their own versions of familiar standards on the spot, speaking in their own unique musical voices.
The Evenfall Quartet brings us back to that kind of music making and camaraderie. Eschewing the possibilities of modern recording technique, which allows everyone to go back and polish a performance to a fare-thee-well, this group keeps the spontaneity to the fore. They recorded the whole CD in a day, and what comes through is the personality of the players â€“ how they present their personal versions of these familiar songs, which bring with them echoes of the great players and performances of jazz recorded history. Knowledgeable fans will hear the influences of sessions from Gene Ammons, Stanley Turrentine, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Errol Garner, and of course Oscar Pettiford and Lucky Thompson, whose â€œThe Plain But the Simple Truthâ€ is memorably recast here. But make no mistake â€“ these are seasoned, expert players speaking in their own accents. The recording approach allows them to do that with a maximum of freedom and personal authority. The Evenfall Quartet is truly a worthy continuance of the best of jazz performance tradition.
By Al Basile
For more information on the Evenfall Quartet go to: