Orrin Evans: The Red Door
Orrin Evans' latest release on Smoke Sessions Records is called The Red Door, and it's one of my current favorites. It showcases the pianist, composer and bandleader's exceptional talent in putting together an ensemble and writing original compositions and choosing the right cover material. Evans goes with essentially two different quintets on this record, which is split between covers of everyone from Jerome Kern to Geri Allen and Stevie Wonder, and Evans' original compositions. The Red Door, the title track written by Evans, would sound at home on pop radio if pop radio existed in the Jazz dimension. It's riff is irresistable. Larry McKenna's tenor sax evokes vintage Stanley Turrentine on The Good Life. Jazzmeia Horn goes all beat poet on the basement jam Big Small, and Alita Moses sings on a meditative, bluesy take on Amazing Grace. You can hear cuts from The Red Door on WCLK at various times, particularly on Mainstream and Modern on Sunday nights 8p-11p on WCLK.