A 14-piece Jazz Orchestra conducted by Orrin Evans
The newest addition to our Monday night programming is the celebrated Captain Black Big Band conducted by pianist Orrin Evans. We are very excited to welcome them to our Smoke family and while no one will be lighting up any “Captain Black” at Smoke, we can say for sure that the music is “smokin”!
7pm & 9pm two-course dinner prix-fixe available for $29.95 / no music charge
Main Stage / Convention Hall, Saturday November 10. Show at 1:30pm. The Captain Black Big Band blasts off the Saturday afternoon session of the Festival on the Main Stage. You’ll need a seat to keep from being blown into the ocean when the power, strength and majesty of the CBBB gets cranking.
The 17 member Captain Black Big Band started in 2009 as another project that jazz pianist Orrin Evans dreamed up. Over the years, he has constantly thrown himself into new endeavors. This latest endeavor has been quite labor intensive. The Captain Black Big Band, (named after Orrin’s late father, Donald T. Evans’ favorite tobacco) consists of (4) trombonists (5) saxophonists (4) trumpeter, a bassist, a drummer and (2) pianists not including the leader, who will occasionally jump in and perform a song or two. One of the interesting things about this project is that he has enlisted Frank Lacy, Todd Bashore and Darryl Yokley to do arrangements of many of his compositions and also arrangements of standards. One of the other unique qualities about this band is that many of the band members hail from Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey. In this rather eclectic pairing of musicians, you will find, professors, students, touring artists and professional recording artists. Orrin features Grammy nominated musicians on gigs to up the anti and continually raise the bar. The CBBB, as they are sometimes called, performed on a weekly basis for four months straight, developing and honing their sound, and then recorded a live recording, which was released on the Posi-Tone record label January 2011. Coming this Fall early Winter in 2012 CBBB is set to release their new recording on Imani Records.
“You’ve heard of the leadership crisis in America? Orrin Evans is not part of that problem. Running a jazz big band in 2010 involves skill in composing, arranging, conducting and scheduling; it also involves nerve, because a big band these days is naturally a kind of statement, a platform for adventuresome writing or maintaining a tradition. And it takes strength: musical and physical.” ~Ben Ratliff New York Times
In 2007, I had the opportunity to go back to Portugal and lead a Big Band at the Guimaraes Jazz Festival. During the two week long festival, I not only found the music to be fulfilling, I also re-discovered my ability to lead and teach.
Captain Black Big Band has allowed me to feature musicians I may have never featured ordinarily, expose people to the music that may have never heard jazz or a Big Band. When you take a band of 16 people of ALL ages and ethnicities and ask each of them to invite five people to each concert you are bound to have one of the most diverse audiences around. This Big Band has revitalized jazz in Philadelphia during a time that birthed articles about a dying jazz scene. Its residency at Chris’s Jazz Café in Philadelphia created a popular meeting place for ALL people.
Being a musician is not always rewarding but it is a blessing. Documenting these musicians who are not always heard live or on the radio is important to me and to the history of this music we call Jazz. Arrangers are working, musicians are working, musicians are sharing, teachers are teaching, people are smiling, feet are moving, souls are stirred, and tears may flow when The Captain Black Big Band is performing. This recording will be a chance to hold all of that in your hand and use it as your cure daily.
Your support will enable CBBB (as we have been nicknamed) to continue to spread the good news of LOVE, SWING, SOUL, JAZZ and HOPE all over the world!
CBBB will spread the news through live performances, workshops, networking and finally recordings! This is where we need your help. The recording will involve paying musicians, studios, and arrangers. Also making sure the musicians eat, travel safely, and have a place to lay their heads when we are not recording. With over 16 musicians to take care of this can become an expensive task. But we know with the friends, family, and fans we have out there CBBB will record and complete their sophomore CD!