Mother’s Touch is the studio follow-up to this Orrin Evans-led ensemble’s topflight live recording from 2011. It’s as well arranged as its predecessor, versatile in its stylistic presentation and nicely balanced between cohesive ensemble statements and rich, expressive solo moments.
Pianist Evans displays his fondness for blues shadings and tones on the opener, “In My Soul,” and also impresses on the poignant “Dita” and the dynamic “Prayer for Columbine,” the finale among the session’s nine pieces. It contains some spirited performances from trombonist Conrad Herwig, baritone saxophonist Mark Allen, alto saxophonist Tim Green and tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard.
Zaccai Curtis takes over piano duties on the two-part title selection, with Evans shifting to conducting duties. Ralph Peterson’s fiery drumming and Marcus Strickland’s intense soprano sax solo are highlights of “Explain It to Me,” and Eric Revis is the composer for “Maestra,” another showcase for Dillard and Evans. Trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt excels on Wayne Shorter’s “Water Babies.” But Mother’s Touch is first and foremost another triumph for both Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band.