Where some of his fellow fusioneers have ventured along more esoteric avenues, Bill Evans has kept faith with the central values of the genre. At worst this policy manifests itself in the banal rock harmonies of the title track, the world music and rock tussle of Hat (though there is good bass writing here) and the Pink Floyd meets heavy metal montage of The Wait.
At best it results in the stealthy funk groove of Sailboat, rendered at once tense and relaxed by Dennis Chambers’ cunning combination of rock steady backbeats and sixteenth note triplets on the hi-hat.
There are some engaging solos by Jim Beard, particularly his thoughtfully developed outing on Sailboat, with its echoes of Richie Beirach, and Darryl Jones’ leisurely exploration of the theme and harmony of Ginza is deceptively seductive.
The leader suffers from comparison with Michael Brecker, possessing a similar tone and attack without the velocity and harmonic ingenuity. However, his direct and bullish style has an appeal of its own.
Width-watchers will marvel at the playing time.
Let The Juice Loose; Hobo; My Favourite Little Sailboat; Let’s Pretend; In The Hat; Ginza; The Wait; Kwitchur Beliakin (73.59)
Evans (ss/ts); Chuck Loeb (elg/g); Jim Beard (kyb); Darryl Jones (elb); Dennis Chambers (d). In concert at The Blue Note Club, Tokyo, September 9, 1989.
(Jazz City 660.53.001)