Falkner Evans Trio,
Climbing the Gates
(CAP, 2006)

When Falkner Evans was growing up in Tulsa, he was in love with the music of artists such as Bob Dylan, the Band and Van Morrison. The band he was in covered their songs. Then he discovered Coltrane and the rest of the jazz geniuses, although he didn't see himself becoming a jazz musician. He did add music from the jazz-influenced rock groups, such as Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago. Then, however, he did a complete turnaround and joined the Western swing band, Asleep at the Wheel.

Hardly the resume for a jazz musician.

Yet a jazz musician he is. Based in New York City now, Evans leads the Falkner Evans Trio, a classic piano-bass-drums group like the ones Oscar Peterson and George Shearing led. Climbing the Gates is their second CD and it's worth a spin. The trio brings an ease and a light-heartedness to the music that, if you're not listening closely, you might mistake for superficiality.

Climbing the Gates works on two levels. First, it is nice background music, leading me to believe that Evans has spent a lot of time playing lounges, where the music is used to support drinks and conversation without intruding. Second, though, it is subtle and complex. Beneath its accessible surface, the album has a complexity and depth that only becomes noticeable with an attentive listening.

Climbing the Gates is an album that you have to meet halfway. Listen to it superficially and you'll probably dismiss it as lightweight. Listen more closely, though, and you'll be impressed.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

29 September 2007

what's new