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The Message by Evidence Jazz Group

It seems like there are jazz groups worth listening to in every corner of the country. That is the case with Evidence Jazz Group from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its leader, reed player Michael Doyle, originally from The Great Lake State, developed his jazz chops in New York, working with such as Donald Byrd and Branford Marsalis, before returning home in 1997.

Subsequently, he formed his sextet which regularly performs in the Lake Michigan area. Striving for a breakout, The Message, the group’s third release consists of various styles-bop, Latin with sides echoing Miles and Coltrane.

Doyle’s bandmates are Chris Lawrence, trumpet/fluegelhorn; Steve Talaga, piano/Fender Rhodes; Tom Lockwood, bass; Fred Knapp, drums; and Rob Mulligan, percussion. Doyle and Lawrence stand out in short, concise solos. All contribute mightily to the whole, Mulligan especially on percussion, driving the Latin beat home on many slections.

The boppish "Bragdocious," and "Biting the Apple," both featuring Talaga’s romping piano, making tribute to immortal Bud Powell. On the latter, Lawrence’s rapid-fire trumpet also deserves pointing out. A whistle announces the bossa beat leading into "Sun Samba:" Lawrence's and Doyle's solos are enhanced here by Talaga’s smooth keyboard backup. On "The Undefeated," a delightful calypso rhythm enlivens the jaunty blend of soprano sax, trumpet and keyboard. Doyle, on tenor, shines in "Bragdocious," as he does improvising on "This," acknowledging his debt to Coltrane. Not to be overlooked, "Two Lane Landscapes" and "What Can I do Now?" show trumpeter Lawrence’s lyrical side. This CD delivers proof that Evidence should be heard well beyond Michigan.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Evidence Jazz Group
  • CD Title: The Message
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Independant Rlease
  • Tracks: The Message, Sun Samba, This, Lady Rainbow, Bragdocious, Two Lane Landscape, Rogers Park, Hal, The Undefeated, What Can I Do Now?, Biting the Apple, Sharing
  • Musicians: Michael Doyle (tenor, soprano saxes, alto flute, Brazilian whistle), Chis Lawrence (trumpet, fleugelhorn) Steve Talaga (piano, Fender Rhodes) Tom Lockwood (acoustic and electric bass) Fred Knapp (drums) Rob Mulligan (percussion)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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