Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz

On her second release as a leader, the buoyant Meridian, saxophonist Adison Evans demonstrates remarkable maturity as both a composer and a performer. Evans drew inspiration from the idyllic Tuscan village where she retreated to pen the music that comprises this intriguing album.

The opening title-track sets the mood with the right balance of contemplative melancholy and vibrant poetry. Evans’ serpentine duet with pianist Silvano Monasterios gracefully flows into the band’s brighter, resonant group play.

The romantic and haunting “Two for the Road” is an elegant tango between Evans’ breathy baritone and fellow saxophonist Troy Roberts‘ sinewy tenor. Evans and Roberts overlap their suave and colorful lines amid sashaying, effervescent rhythms. The percolating beats of percussionist Jeremy Smith and drummer Roberto Giaquinto enhance the song’s passionate edge. Out of this sensual backdrop emerges bassist Joseph Lepore‘s superbly lyrical and agile solo.

Trumpeter Mat Jodrell demonstrates his burnished tone and warm sound on the up-tempo and boppish “Serpent’s Tooth.” Following his energetic improvisation Evans takes center stage with muscular and exuberant ad lib phrases embellishing the core melody with virtuosity. Giaquinto’s thunderous polyrhythmic bursts punctuate Roberts’ fiery extemporization.

Clarinetist Vasko Dukovski makes a guest appearance on “Prelude & Fugue in D Minor: The Plunge.” The piece opens with a serene and angular woodwind trio stating the baroque theme. It seamlessly dovetails into the urbane second segment with its loose swinging sense and Evans’ sophisticated swagger. Moasterio’s crystalline cascade of ringing notes and reverberant chords mirror Evans’ soulful baritone concluding the tune with excitement.

With this thematically unified, continuously engaging and intelligent work Evans demonstrates that she has developed a singular voice and a personal style. Meridian is a testament to her artistry and the proof that Evans is a talented musician to be reckoned with.

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