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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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The Other Side of Something

Intuition INT 3416 2





1. Easy Way Out
2. Ode to the Working Man
3. Sweet Tea
4. No Where To Go
5. Professor Pork Phat
6. Walk into the Light
7. Way Out East
8. Dance of the Leprechaun
9. How The West Was Won
10. Kinda Green
11. Slippery Bigs Forever
Bill Evans – Saxes, vocals
Sam Bush – Mandolin, vocals (tracks 1-5, 7-9, 11)
Victor Wooten – Bass, vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4-9)
Dennis Chambers – Drums (tracks 1, 2, 4-9)
Ryan Cavanaugh – Banjo (tracks 1-6, 10, 11)
Christian Howes – Fiddle (tracks 1-10)
Pat Bergeson – Guitar (tracks 1, 2, 5, 6)
Mickey Raphael –Harmonica (tracks 1, 4, 5)
Clifford Carter – Keyboards (tracks 1-4)
Roger Squitero – Percussion (tracks 1, 2, 4, 10)
Vaneese Thomas – Background vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4)
Richard Bona – Bass (tracks 3, 10)
Joel Rosenblatt – Drums (tracks 3, 10, 11)
Bela Fleck – Banjo (tracks 7-10)
Jim Beard – Piano (track 7)
Randy Brecker – Trumpet (track 10)

Saxophonist Bill Evans's Soulgrass album last year was a pleasant surprise, intriguingly mixing elements of country music into jazz. This new album does the same thing but the proportion of the country element has increased considerably. Some tracks sound just like country songs with hints of saxophone, and Bill even sings on several tracks. He's a passable singer but nothing special in the vocal department, and the lyrics are not always clearly enunciated.

On the plus side, there's plenty of fine playing from a line-up of excellent musicians – notably banjo-players Ryan Cavanaugh and Bela Fleck (the latter outstanding on Dance of the Leprechaun). And Bill Evans himself contributes some fiery solos, taking the lion's share of the soloing. Sweet Tea is elevated by a thrilling bass guitar solo from Richard Bona, and Dennis Chambers's drumming adds characteristic punch to many numbers.

There's no denying the excitement of some of the instrumental tracks - like the tearaway Professor Pork Phat, with extrovert solos from Bill Evans and guitarist Pat Bergerson. You might call this music jazz-fusion, especially as it includes elements of rock technoflash as well as country and jazz. It is good to hear experiments fusing jazz with other genres, but the fusion of jazz and country was better managed by Gary Burton in his Tennessee Firebird album 40 years ago, where the jazz content was not dominated by the country component.

Tony Augarde





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