In Charles Evans’ hands, the baritone saxophone is truly capable of producing works of art that mesmerize audiences making them cognizant of every note, observing how some are held for long stretches of time and others are clipped shavings. Each one turns the phrasing into majestically crocheted patterns and platitudes or a series of taunting squeals with a high-resolution. His fourth CD, The King Of All Instruments is a salute to the commanding presence that the baritone saxophone warrants. The compositions are made from layering segments by Evans’ baritone saxophone. All nine tracks are fabricated differently showing the reed instrument’s versatility and tonality to express depth of emotion, conflict, and happiness. The phrases vary in shape from being robust to having a slither of moonlight glow and skittering about like fireflies through the woodlands. A number of octaves are utilized in these arrangements producing fascinating pieces that invite Evans to tap into his well of improvisational skills. Notes which exist between the traditional 12-note standard are implemented and hold a significant place in the body of the compositions, which are all abstract in form and harmoniously paired in content.
Anything literally goes in Evan’s works. The concepts which guide the pieces create unexpected turns, uneven juxtapositions that meld together, and quarky punctuations led by involuntary and erratic motions. Evans’ works allude to an unorthodox style of artistry with multiple orbits and poly-chordal forms all moving at different rates of speed and along different paths very similarly to the planets of our Solar System. In a way, Evans captures the movements of the planets and their satellites in his compositions. There is order in the chaotic behavior of the segments which is not obvious but it exists. He moves the bari sax from being high-strung to low-keyed and everything in between. He points out the instrument’s elasticity and moody penchant, but most of all, he shows audiences not to be fearful of the multiple functions that the baritone saxophone can serve. He uses the instrument as a tool that should be explored and admired for its diversity.
This album is dedicated to the memory of Bill Zaccagni who was Evans’ first steady baritone saxophone instructor during his formative years living in Philadelphia and studying at the University of the Arts. Zaccagni called the baritone saxophone "The King of all Instruments." Evans tells in the liner notes of the album, "The album was created during a period of musical isolation, introspection and poor health. The conclusion of this record will be remembered as an important landmark in my increased personal artistic maturity." Beyond Evans’ musical influences like Zaccagni, Charles Ives and David Liebman, whom he became enamored of before he began pursuing music to his fullest potential, is Evans’ open-mindedness to explore his own ingenuity and creativity. He makes the notes of the baritone saxophone a conduit of his own feelings and thoughts. It is some place where many people fear to tread, but Charles Evans makes it a necessity to construct his compositions.