Andrea Brachfeld is a critically acclaimed flutist, composer and educator. She has won multiple awards, including a grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and was once recognized as the best jazz flutist by Hot House magazine. Evolution features Brachfeld's longtime collaborators Bill O'Connell (piano), Harvie S (bass) and Jason Tiemann (drums).
While Brachfeld's previous album, Brazilian Whispers (Origin Records, 2020), focused solely on a Brazilian music sound palette, in Evolution she brings listeners to different corners of the planet. Sometimes what sounds at first straight-ahead jazz then goes to totally new territories and vice versa. "Qingauilt" is a piece from the Inuit duo Tudjaat, but it is hard to distinguish it from a traditional jazz tune. The lyrical bass solos glue together the flute and the piano solos. Later, another bass solo creates a smooth transition back to the theme. The opening of "The Hut Song" (music by Baka Pygmies) sounds more like a world music track than a jazz piece. Yet, later in the composition, Brachfeld goes to a more traditional jazz sound. In the end, this piece turns back to the world music sound with traditional wooden flutes. Written by rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the tune "Ko Ribon" adds a flavor of Jewish music to the mixture of other influences.
In the album, Brachfeld reflects on humanitarian problems around the world. According to the liner note, her writing in this album "was affected by her dive into children's issues and the ongoing need of basic necessities even in the best of times." Perhaps the culmination of these reflections, and the most poignant piece on the album, is "Child of the Earth." In this, Brachfeld sets aside the flute for a while and starts reciting: "I look into your eyes, child of the Earth. I see your fear. I see your hunger. I feel your pain." Jazz solos amplify her recitation. The piece ends with a powerful message: "We are all children of our Earth." With Evolution, Brachfeld continues her discoveries in music and exploration of self.