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 rerunning home. in 1997.
Subsequently, he formed his sextet which regularly performs in the Lake Michigan area. Striving for a breakout with The Message
, the group’s third. release consists of various styles-bop, Latin with a couple echoing Miles and Coltrane.
Doyle’s bandmates are Chris Lawrence, trumpet/fluegelhorn; Steve Talaga, piano/Fender Rhodes; Tom Lacewood, bass; Fred Knapp, drums; and Rob Mulligan, percussion.. Doyle and Lawrence stand out in short, concise solos. All contribute mightily to the whole, Mullins especially on percussion driving the Latin beat home on many of the slections. Some highlights: 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.
Whistles announce the bossa beat leading into "Sun Samba," Lawrence and Doyle solos are enhanced here by the smooth 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," acknowledging his debt to Coltrane, while "Two Lane Landscapes" and "What Can I do Now?" show Lawrence’s lyrical side on trumpet..
Finally, this CD delivers proof that Evidence should be heard well beyond Michigan. ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff