Steve Evans, vocals; Jake Vinsel, bass; Noritaka Tanaka, drums; Leandro Lopez Varady, piano
According to the booklet notes on his new 2-CD set, jazz vocalist Steve Evans originally intended to release a live recording of his quartet, but “technical difficulties” intervened. So instead he imposed strict restrictions on his studio process in the hopes of recreating the conditions necessary to have a “live” sound. And it worked! As does Earle’s idiosyncratic choice of repertoire which extends well beyond standards to include songs by Tom Waits and Nick Drake, as well as jazzifications of classical compositions by Britten and Rodrigo. Having never been a fan of the singing of Tom Waits but liking a lot of his material, I’m also thrilled to hear his “Clap Hands” sung by someone with great pipes: check out Evans’s breathtaking high note on the sample we’re featuring here.