Gabe Evens Trio takes correct turns on “The Wrong Waltz”

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Gabe Evens Trio’s “The Wrong Waltz,” is the group’s new CD that captures the intelligence, creativity, and energy of the ensemble. The title track, “Stand at the Front of Your Mat,”  and ” Yoko and the Spotless, Spotless Clan” are excellent examples from Gabe Evens Trio’s sixth album. All the songs are original on “The Wrong Waltz.”

The Gabe Evens Trio is comprised of Gabe Evens on piano, Lynn Seaton on bass, and Ed Soph on drums.  The group’s members have earned awards in jazz—bassist Seaton has been nominated for a Grammy, and drummer Soph has been inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.  Evens is the Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano at the University of Louisville. Evens has performed throughout the United States and internationally. He has also performed in various locations in Asia and Europe. Evens has performed with several philharmonic orchestras and the University of Miami Concert Jazz band.

“The Wrong Waltz”: Gabe Evens Trio

The piano jumps in bright and fresh. The notes sprinkle from the piano, and at first, listeners might not notice the galloping and sometimes brooding bass. The drums are played crisp with a touch of cymbal crash. The bass is showcased—at times it matches what the drums are doing. After several moments of interplay, the piano takes the lead again.

The title of the song prompts clever responses to it: “The Wrong Waltz” sounds right to jazz fans, or something else equally pun-like. However, the pun is true. Nothing sounds “wrong” about the track. All the notes sound right and each player sounds engaged in the overall work that is going into making the piece.

“Stand at the Front of Your Mat”

Muscular drum work opens the piece. Then, the song seems to zip with the quick swing of the piano. The drums switch approaches, and the bass plays with it. The very high, very fast piano notes are brought down because of the bass solo. They build again, cascading into the swinging motif from earlier in the song. The drum beats are strong, and they stick with the bass until the song comes to its conclusion.

“Yoko and the Spotless, Spotless Clan”

The moody piano ushers listeners into the song. Sparse notes are high and struck with seeming discord. The piano groove turns into a kind of Latin dance line. The piano motif winds around again, and the drums clatter and roll in ways that don’t pair easily with the piano. If listeners go back a second time, they can hear where the bass gets moody and takes the piece over a bit, roughly halfway through. When the song is not creating the big waves, going up and down with the piano or bass leading the way, it returns to the Latin groove.

 With the use of improvisation tactics, and with thoughtful songwriting and arranging, Gabe Evens Trio shows they understand how jazz works.  The album is replete with different moods and variations and the overall effect is exciting. Evens shows his skill as a leader on the recording, and in recruiting Seaton and Soph to play with him.

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