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Bill Evans: Touch

With an all-star band at his disposal, legendary saxophonist/composer/arranger Bill Evans struts, dabbles and steps out with Touch (Zebra ZD 44016-2; 57:37). The highs here are extremely high-Evans captivates on the stuttering, strutting “Nashville Cowboys,” which pairs his melody with the cornered, spindly guitar work of Victor Bailey, and takes off like a rocket on the trippy, city-frenetic paced “Dixie Hop,” which features a blast of a duel between Evans and trumpeter Wallace Roney. With a tip of the hat to the modern, Evans addresses groove-driven pieces with mixed results. Where “One Wild Ride” is anchored by his breathtaking tenor spirals and solid horn harmonies, the midnight urbanscape “Remembering Those Times” simply takes too long to get off its disco-fied groove and get going. There are more stops on this tour, however, with Evans showing a lyrical side on the long soprano melody lines of “Little Hands, Little Feet,” and building to a ripping exercise in hard-fusion dynamics on “Back to the Wall.”

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