Okazaki, even on the uptempo pieces, moves the songs forward on the strength of the melody. Like Zenon, his solos often have a forceful percussive edge (reminding this writer of Larry Coryell and Joe Morris, both players who can "speak" volumes without a high level of volume.) Though his music has an intellectual structure, the musicians play with such joy and emotion that it is easy to fall under the spell of "Figurations". And, this music benefits greatly from being recorded in a "live" setting - one can truly feel that Miles Okazaki and company connected with the audience (which is what all music should do, make connections on many different levels.) For more information, go to www.milesokazaki.com.
Like Byard, all music is fair game to Evans. There is an elegiac solo piano reading of "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)", the theme of "Soul Train" composed by the hit-making machine of Gamble & Huff. Although there is nothing in the notes, this bluesy and touching piece has to be a dedication to the late Don Cornelius. The Trio dances through a hard-bop adaptation of Luther Vandross's "A Brand New Day", with Wolfe's furious "walking" bass and Edward's percussive barrage driving the pianist forward. The title track barrels forward with Evans matching the intensity level of the rhythm section while creating memorable melodic lines. "Big Small" is an original blues tune, thick piano chords and short melodic phrases over the rock-solid bass lines and Edward's fine drum work (he sounds as if he's talking back to the piano during Evans' solo.)
"Flip The Script" might just refer to a concept in which a person gives equal weight to the good and bad things in his life and chooses to take a positive attitude. Not easy for a musician to make his or her way through the world yet there is so much creativity to be found, not only in the world of jazz but also in classical, hip hop and folk. Orrin Evans creates music that can make you dance, make you sit back and get lost in the quiet melodies; it should make you see that there are so many possibilities if you allow your creativity to flow. For more information about his music, go to www.orrinevansmusic.com. (The CD will be released on June 12, 2012; here is a track, courtesy of Posi-Tone Records & IODA Promonet: