Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Steve Evans Quartet: 2 Sets

Steve Evans

Our CD shelves are sagging with great contemporary female vocalists, extending from Allyson (as in Karrin) to Wilson (as in Cassandra and Nancy). But the number of male counterparts continues to lag far behind, which makes this sophomore release from Steve Evans most welcome, particularly since Evans continues to eschew the Rat Pack-wannabe path followed by so many of his peers, opting instead to shape a much more intriguing and inventive musical journey. Indeed, 2 Sets, the powerhouse follow-up to his standards-based eponymous debut, suggests that he might be en route to rivaling the dynamism of fellow Chicagoan Kurt Elling.

Some may find it a tad pretentious that Evans has opted to deliver this 15-track session, which could easily have fit on a single CD, across two discs. But, as he explains in the liner notes, this was originally intended, two years ago, as a live recording. When technical difficulties aborted that plan, Evans says he “wanted to record something that would still contain the live sound that is so often lost in the studio,” so recorded these two sets “as in a concert setting. The goal was to hit the ‘record’ button, start at the beginning of Set 1, and keep going until that particular set was finished.” No listening back, no overdubbing, no pitch fixing, and not a single redo. So, two half-hour sets build around Evans’ distinctive sound-a rumbling, full-bodied voice that suggests rough-sanded oak-and a compellingly inventive playlist.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published