On last year’s Tarbaby: The End of Fear, Evans was the intrepid pianist in an adventurous trio. Here, he is at the helm of a 16-piece band staffed by New Yorkers and Philadelphians, some of them up-and-comers, a few semi-grizzled veterans, all full of fire. Busy conducting, Evans solos on only one piece, but there is no shortage of impressive soloists in this live recording. Among them are saxophonists Jaleel Shaw and Ralph Bowen, trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt and pianist Neal Podgurski. Evans’ supercharged “Jena 6” is a tour de force for the band at large and, notably, for Shaw.
– Doug Ramsey