All serious jazz fans worships pianist Bill Evans, but not everybody is aware of his prowess as a composer. This album, a labor of love by the Jim Norton Collective, presents 13 of Evans' best. As a quick aside, historical accuracy requires the record to be set straight regarding one tune - "Journey To Recife" - which, for years, was credited incorrectly to Evans rather than to its actual composer, Richard A. Evans. That error lingered for so long that Norton's combo nonetheless opted to include it on this album.
The ensemble consists of a dozen musicians: four reeds, five brass (including a French horn and bass trombone), and a rhythm section of guitar, bass and drums. Norton, in the reed section, handled all of the arrangements.
Evans, aside from being a superb musician, had a quirky sense of humor that often surfaced in word-play. Consider, as one example, the fact that Sonny Clark's name gets anagrammed to "NYC's No Lark." Or consider just-plan cute titles, such as "Fudgesickle Built for Four," "Peri's Scope" and "Comrade Conrad," the latter originally a jingle that Evans wrote for Crest toothpaste.
Evans never played his tunes the same way twice, and Norton follows that tradition: This album offers two versions of "Fudgesickle Built for Four." (So ... which flavor do you prefer?)
As for the quality of the Norton Collective? Simply outstanding: This group truly grooves!
The result is a great album, and an absolute essential for your library.