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
“This town hall meeting of a band makes the kind of jazz that nearly everyone could agree to call jazz. There are layers of squirming saxes, bright piano and serious brass blasts — low–end, high–note, and mid–range alike — tied together with a surplus of swing. But it doesn’t sound stuck in a misremembered era — there are jutting edges to the writing, and they’re played with a fashionably loose vibe. (As analogues, think of contemporary big bands led by trumpeters Roy Hargrove, or Nicholas Payton, or Charles Tolliver, or even the Charles Mingus repertory group, which Orrin Evans has served in.) And no soloist is afraid to hold anything back: There’s audacity of spirit here.” – Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR Music, 3/20/2011.
The April edition of Sittin’ In features noted Philadelphia pianist Orrin Evans and his latest project Captain Black Big Band — a genesis of East coast players brought together under his leadership. The album, comprised of live sessions in both New York and Philadelphia in which Evans leads in true jam session format, was hailed by NPR as one of the top 10 Best of Jazz 2011. Saxophonist and contributing arranger Todd Bashore describes Evans’ leadership, ‘He’s like a chef at a pot, adding ingredients as he feels like it, tasting all the time and seeing what it needs and then throwing something else in. We may have an arrangement ready, but you can’t assume that at the gig it’s just going to go down as it is. It’s a lot of fun for a musician, because it’s creative and you never know what’s going to happen. It keeps you on your toes.’
Sittin’ In is an eclectic mix of cross-genre grooves meet horns, vinyl, and vocals. Each month we’ll bring you a different session featuring a special guest host, alongside their band of choice, plus DJ sets by Philly’s own DJ PHSH. The first set will feature the host and is followed by a second set showcasing selected talent from near and far. This series is curated by acclaimed jazz bassist Anthony Tidd, Director of the Kimmel Center’s Creative Music Program.
No cover. Jam Session drink specials (8pm-11pm) – $4 beers and $5 wines.
Trumpeter Josh Lawrence will join acclaimed pianist Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band at Smalls Jazz Club in New York City February 13.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all when Orrin Evans unleashes the debut record of the Captain Black Big Band. Recorded live at The Jazz Gallery in NYC and Chris’ Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia, the Captain Black Big Band record features newly commissioned arrangements and some brand new tunes. Joining Evans on the date are some of the best players from the Philadelphia and New York jazz scenes. The session is insightfully straight ahead, steadily swinging, and refreshingly melodic enough to evoke a wide assortment of bright moments for discerning jazz fans everywhere. Check out the large sound when Orrin Evans leads the Captain Black Big Band on a steady course towards success and takes care of business with their amazing new self-titled record.
Pianist Orrin Evans & the Captain Black Big Band kicked off 2012 with a highly charged emotional show on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Smalls Jazz Club in NYC. Photographer Salvatore Corso and impresario Ola Baldych were in the audience capturing the night in photo and video. Enjoy!
The Captain Black Big Band was named named #8 in the Best Jazz of 2011 by A Blog Supreme.
“The Captain Black Big Band is more accurately the Captain Black Big Bands, plural: a rotating, multi-generational cast of top-notch jazz musicians from several East Coast cities. Pianist Orrin Evans plays ringleader, as he’s the one with the Rolodex of musicians (so to speak) and the one willing to gather everyone together every so often. That makes for a good narrative of community spirit and tradition renewal, but more importantly, the bands make great music. The arrangements are brassy, the solos ballsy; seemingly every second of this live recording is suffused with redline intensity. It’s a confirmation — and a celebration — that swing never lost its swagger.”
This night is a rare occasion, a double big band bill with the awe-inspiring Captain Black Big Band lead by renowned pianist Orrin Evans and The Revive Da Live Big Band lead by composer/ arranger/ trumpeter, Igmar Thomas. Two massive big bands with 40+ musicians & guests performing to unite and strengthen the tradition and evolution of jazz.