Eyes For You
This is the highly anticipated follow-up to George Evans' successful 2001 release From Moment To Moment. Featuring the core rhythm section from the previous disc, Reg Schwager on guitar, Neil Swainson on bass, Jerry Fuller on drums, and bringing into the ensemble the dynamic piano of Mark Eisenman. Eyes For You is a tasty 12 track, 60-minute program of standards and over-looked gems.
Recognized as one of the foremost vocal interpreters of jazz and standards on the Canadian scene since surfacing in Montreal in the early-1990s, George Evans has been nominated National Jazz Awards Vocalist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. He has been celebrated diversely as "a ballad's best friend" by All-Canadian Jazz Festival, and "an agile voice and always swinging" by the National Post. George tours actively, and has been praised for his lively, polished performances in major clubs in cities such as New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. He has recorded a current total of six projects as a leader, and his latest album, "Bewitched" can be heard on all the major jazz outlets.
George Evans first thrilled Toronto jazz audiences in 1999 when he launched his second album "I'm All Smiles" at the Top o' the Senator. He went on to appear there with regularity through the launch of his fifth album "Movie Songs' in 2005. Over the years George became familiar to audiences at home through frequent appearances on TVO, Bravo, and CoolTV, and through his many sessions and concerts for the CBC. George Evans was the founding member of The Three Crooners, and in 2004 he selected, sequenced, and produced the successful "Here Come The Boys: a Canadian Crooner Collection" for Maximum Jazz and Universal Music Canada.
George Evans latest CD, "Eyes For You" has got to be a winner. A superior recording. For sure, George Evans is one of the most consummate male vocalists on the Canadian jazz scene and I will be very surprised if George is not soon snapped up by a major recording company." Dave Milbourne - Toronto Jazz
"If there's any justice at all, George Evans will experience the same kind of break-out success this year Diana Krall has experienced. And why not? The Toronto singer is a talented vocalist whose rich, smooth tones remind you of no one less than Sinatra himself." Charles Mandel - Planet Jazz
"What a fabulous set of pipes! Canadian vocalist, George Evans walks in the front door with a mountain of class. There are no gimmicks, the man can sing and that's what he's here to do. Jazz disc jockeys will love this guy! My humble opinion? Ya gotta get it!" Richard Bourcier - Jazz Review
"[excerpt] Evans shows an obvious predilection for the great standards and takes only the most appropriate of liberties with them. His vocal sound is tough and sinewy, with a pleasing huskiness and well-contained touch of vibrato. He has an occasional tendency to phrase like Mel Tormé, which is no bad thing, and everything he sings goes with an easy swing. The male contingent in the current tidal wave of young singers is a bit on the thin side and Evans (who is 40) can certainly be added to their number." Bruce Crowther - Jazz Journal International
"George Evans’ latest CD is called “Eyes For You,” and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: George finds great tunes, some of which you’ve never heard before, some of which you’ve heard instrumental versions of in jazz, and other tunes you might know but haven’t heard “George’s Way.” There is a kind of burning intensity to songs that he sings about lost love, enchantment gone wrong, obsession turned to poison, and all of the, shall we say, darker sides of love. On this album, the tune that bears that distinction, “I’m a fool to want you,” has lyrics co-written by Frank Sinatra, and as George Evans says, he fantasizes that this was a tune Frank couldn’t help writing for Ava Gardner.” Katie Malloch – CBC Radio
"In this session of yet another dozen standards, George continues to surpass even himself... He has the taste and creativity of a master painter, scatting tastefully and only when required... "Where Have You Been?" was an utterly smashing surprise. In George's hands and voice it swings like a famous Sinatra/Riddle affair... Bacharach and David's "Alfie" receives an enormously caring treatment that I will never forget. In this most delicate and tender version it's as if one were hearing it for the first time. The words pour out as if he were dearly playing an instrument and taking everyone in his path for a magic carpet ride." Dan Singer - In Tune International [read the full review]
"Here's a chap who loves singing and writing about singers and the songs. In doing so, he's absorbed the finer elements of singing while listening to the greats. George Evans can swing a lyric and enunciate with full awareness of each note. The supporting cast is front and center, with trumpeter Denny Christianson, pianist Mark Eisenman, bassist Neil Swainson, guitarist Reg Schwager and drummer Jerry Fuller equally involved." Bill King - The Jazz Report
"George Evans is a promising vocalist based in Toronto, who is helping to keep the legacy of male jazz singing alive. Evans has a strong voice, is in-tune, swings lightly, and digs into a dozen standards on this set. His renditions of such songs as “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life,” “I’ll Never Be The Same” and “Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year” are heartfelt, thoughtful and a bit uplifting, straddling the boundary between swinging jazz and middle-of-the-road 1950s pop vocalizing." Scott Yanow – L.A. Jazz Scene
"I really enjoyed this record. George, like a good wine, has clearly improved with age. I especially liked "Where Have You Been," the overall sound, the space, the arrangements in general and the often understated and tasteful playing. And I appreciate hearing the not-often-heard lyrics of some songs, as in "The Very Thought Of You." Bravo!" Jean-Pierre Leduc - Justin Time Records
"George Evans' smooth vocalizing simply evokes good taste and a mellow timelesness. Backed by a tight five-piece combo, he has put together a first-rate collection of 12 tunes -- there's not a dud in the bunch. High points include Sinatra's "I'm a Fool to Want You," which is turned into a swirling jazz waltz, and a plaintive, haunting reading of "Alfie." Like good scotch, this disc is smooth and potent at the same time." Amazon.com
"I like the warm intimacy, the stylistic signature, the interpretations, the whole undeniably Evans choices of notes and repertoire. "Where Have You Been" is a new treat for these ears." Colin Lazzerini - Roadhouse Records
"Vocalist George Evans is getting the message. In a day and age where male balladeers come few and far between, Evans has been building up a body of vocal work relying on the tunes turned out by some of the top contributors to the Great American Songbook: Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn, Cole Porter and Ray Noble. As usual, joining him are some of the best Canadian rhythm artists on today's scene. This time its Reg Schwager on guitar, Mark Eisenman, piano, Neil Swainson, bass, Jerry Fuller on drums and Denny Christianson on trumpet. The result is some of the better small group playing on disk. Even though this is familiar material, Evans and his friends add a brightness to these beloved songs that demonstrate their timeliness. Highly recommended." Dave Nathan - All About Jazz
Radio play for "Eyes For You" (2002-2003)
In its first six months on jazz radio "Eyes For You" did exceptionally well for an independent Canadian release, garnering regular aiplay both in this country and abroad. Here are some of the highlights around the initial burst of play for George Evans CD, "Eyes For You".
• Eyes For You was released to the media on Nov. 4, 2002
• Jazz.fm gave "Eyes" advance airplay on Oct. 3, 2002, and added it to the rotation on Dec. 2, 2002. The programming department at Jazz.fm really got behind this release, slotting it in heavy rotation with multiple plays per day for the first nine weeks on-air, and continuing in medium rotation after that. A big thank you to Jazz.fm for their vote of support.
• Host and music director Bert Gambini on WBFO-fm in Buffalo added the CD to the playlist in November 2002. The station also plays the rest of George's catalogue regularly.
• Disc Drive on CBC debuted the album on Nov. 22, 2002 with "The Lamp Is Low," the re-working of a classical theme by Ravel, and very appropriate to Disc Drive's mixed-format programming.
• After Hours on CBC Radio debuted Dec. 6, 2002 with "The Very Thought Of You." This is the first ballad Mr. Porter has selected from George's recent catalogue, and we are most grateful for the continued support of After Hours on CBC.
• Rob Fogle's Some Experiences in Jazz on CHRY fm featured George Evans' new CD on three consecutive weeks, playing eight different selections. Thanks to Rob for his ongoing encouragement.
• Jazz After Hours host Jim Wilke (on PRI in the States) launched the new CD in December 2002 on his highly-rated nationally syndicated program. He went on to feature the disc with eight consecutive weeks of play, and in the process, made a small hit out of "The Very Thought Of You." A special thanks to Jim Wilke for breaking this release into the US market.
• Jazz Beat with Katie Malloch on CBC Radio debuted the disc on January 5th with George's rendition of "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year" (a track which has proven to be an audience favourite.) Jazz Beat followed up on February 9th with "I'm A Fool To Want You," among the tracks on this release of which we are most proud. Jazz Beat continues to champion the work of George Evans, and we thank them for their unconditional support and encouragement.
• WBGO in NYC featured tracks from "Eyes For You" during the live broadcast from the IAJE in Toronto. Thanks to WBGO for recognizing music from the Canadian scene.
• Nov 15 - Jan 10, Mar 14: CFRC Kingston Top Ten Jazz Albums
• David Kenney's Everything Old Is New Again on WBAI in NYC launched the CD on the January 19th program, "Releases of 2002," and featuring the disc as an "Album of the week" in March. David has graciously programmed the recordings of George Evans since his debut release in 1997.
• Coull Jazz with Canada's premier award winning Jazz Host, Bill Coull on CKUA in Edmonton debuted the disc on January 25th with "I'll Never Be The Same."
• As of March 14, 2003, George Evans has spent eight weeks in the Chart Attack Alternative Jazz Radio charts.
• [March 24] Host Rusty Rush reports "Eyes For You" added to the playlist for Voices of Jazz on KAMU-fm. The album is being showcased four cuts at a time over the space of two programs.
• [April 7] Peter Stevens' Jazz Tracks on CJAM-FM has recently discovered the music of George Evans, featuring the new CD on the program of March 30. A host of some 23 years on CJAM and on the CBC before that, Mr. Stevens has plans to revisit George's three earlier CDs on upcoming programs.
• [April 13] eJazzNews Top 30 Canadian Jazz Radio Chart #8
• [April 27] eJazzNews Top 20 Canadian Jazz Radio Chart #20
• [May 11] eJazzNews Top 20 Canadian Jazz Radio Chart #8
• [June 6] !earshot Top 20 National Jazz Chart #18