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Album Review: Water and Light
Loren Evarts
Cover image of the album Water and Light by Loren Evarts
Water and Light
Loren Evarts
2015 / Otter Records
47 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Water and Light is the fourth album from pianist/composer Loren Evarts. Produced by Will Ackerman with Tom Eaton and Evarts, this album is a collection of re-imagined and re-recorded earlier works as well as some new ones. In addition to his solo piano work, Evarts was the leader, composer, and arranger for the new age/jazz ensemble, Confluence, as well as Sliders, an eight-piece band featuring five trombones. With a Master’s degree in music education and doctoral studies at Boston University, Evarts has taught for several public and private schools and is now an instructor for five colleges. Water and Light contains a beautiful combination of solo piano and ensemble works, some of which have a Celtic influence. Other musicians appearing on the album include Eugene Friesen (cello), Rhonda Larson (flutes), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Tony Levin (bass) and Tom Eaton (electric bass). The eleven tracks range from peaceful and soothing to more upbeat and lively. Evarts’ background in jazz is apparent in some of his harmonies and rhythms, keeping the music interesting as well as enjoyable in either the foreground or background.

Water and Light begins with “Innisfree,” a duet for piano and crystal flute that allows both artists to really shine. I find it fascinating how some musicians are so good at telling stories without words, and “Innisfree” definitely tells a story to listeners’ imaginations, leaving the actual plot and storyline up to them. “Confluence” was originally recorded in 1988 with the group with the same name and is a lively quartet for piano, cello, percussion, and bass. “Lonely Road” is the first of the piano solos. Slow and uncomplicated, it feels much like a walk off by yourself, letting thoughts roll and enjoying your surroundings (my interpretation). “New Irish Waltz” is an upbeat jazz waltz with Larson’s whistle and flute giving it a strong Celtic flavor - love this one! “Windmills” is another piano solo, this time with a steady rhythm that suggests the movement of the windmill blades turning at a moderate speed; the right hand is jazzier and never stops moving - another great piece! “The Cat and the Moon” is performed on an unusual variety of instruments that include cowbell and “Windham County black birch firewood (felled by Will Ackerman)”! The music is also really enjoyable! “The Pond in Winter” is my favorite track. This piano solo actually makes me feel cold - that’s how effective it is! Slowly flowing and very graceful, Evarts beautifully expresses the crystalline quality of ice and the profound stillness of snow. “91 North” picks up the pace and reminds me of some of Scott Cossu’s piano/flute combinations. Lively and joyful, the love of making music with others comes through loud and clear - another favorite. “‘C’ Effigy” is an intriguing title for a quartet for piano, cello, percussion, and electric bass. Lighthearted and jazzy, it’s a great ending to an excellent album.

Water and Light is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Recommended!
November 22, 2015
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