Jazz in Europe - Feb 20, 2018
reviewer Andrew Read
Skylines features ten original compositions all penned by Evan Harris and sees him in the company of Will Vinson: alto saxophone, Sean Wayland: piano, Des White: double bass and Jochen Rueckert on drums. The album was recorded at Systems Two Studios’ in Brooklyn by multi-Grammy winning engineer Mike Marciano and produced by pianist Frank Kimbrough.
The thing that first struck me when listening to the album was the level of musical maturity displayed by a musician that has been on this earth for less than a quarter of a century. In the press release for the album, producer Frank Kimbrough stated “Attending the sessions that yielded this music was a joy – I came with the intention of providing assistance and guidance, but little was needed. There was a palpable sense of togetherness among the musicians, and the stress-free environment they created allowed yours truly to sit back in the control room with my arms folded across my chest, and a smile on my face. I was witnessing dreams become a reality.”When listening to the final product I could not agree more.
The album opens with “Gunderman”, Based loosely around a 5/4 motive this track has an easy and fresh feel. The theme is taken by both horns with Will Vinson on Alto taking the first solo. Evan follows taking a different approach playing longer lines. I enjoyed the juxtaposition in styles.
The Album continues with the a more agitated feel in “Inertia” allowing far more room for harmonic exploration. Catalyst, is a lilting 6/8 piece allowing pianist and fellow expat Sean Wayland to solo. I particularly enjoyed “Equilibrium”, the only track on the album couched in a straight four swing feel.
The three tracks that form the album title are “Skyline At Sunrise”, “Skyline At Midday’ and ‘Skyline At Sunset” are an interesting set. Placed strategically in the track listing, these tracks are far more open and less structured than the other tracks presented on the album. As the titles suggest these tracks are quite evocative, conjuring visions of the city at Sunrise, the “Hustle and Bustle” of the city at Midday and the surreal expectations of the city at night. These three tracks are without doubt one of the highlights of this album.
This album has a lot to absorb. On the surface the album is rather cinematic in feel and takes the listener through a number of moods however the deeper you delve the more complex the music becomes. This is the sign of a great album that will appeal to a wide audience. Skylines is a strong release from a musician that we will no doubt hearing a great deal more from in the coming years. Highly recommended.