After releasing two widely acclaimed albums of small ensemble music under his own name, "Peter Evans Quartet" on Firehouse 12 and "Live in Lisbon" on Clean Feed, as well as two revolutionary albums of solo trumpet music for Evan Parker's PSI label, Peter Evans launches a new phase of his career and music with the creation of More is More Records and the release of "Ghosts". The album features original compositions, commissioned in part by the Donaueschinger Musiktager Festival 2010, and one standard. The current lineup featured on Ghosts features some of the most original voices on their respective instruments: pianist Carlos Homs, bassist Tom Blancarte, drummer Jim Black, and computer musician Sam Pluta.
The music on Ghosts is an extension and synthesis of ideas Evans has been working on for the past 5 years- the interface of history with the present, the possibilities for the interaction of live electronics with acoustic instruments, and new compositional models which recombine both old and new harmonic and rhythmic frameworks to create dense forests of sound. Re-workings of pieces like Mel Torme's "Christmas Song" or "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" are delivered not as nostalgia, but as a commentary on nostalgia and the processes by which past sound is broken down by the passage of time, distorted, and transformed from something literal to metaphoric. Other pieces focus more on the pure interaction of an instrument with Pluta's live electronics, achieving new plateaus of speed and density which move beyond the idea of processing as merely a delay or echo.
The music and band is the result of experimentation going back to mid 2009. After experiences in Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, at STEIM in Amsterdam and various ad-hoc performances with Pluta, Evans decided to merge his interest in electro-acoustic music with jazz and composition into a single performing entity. Pluta's own work as a composer made him the ideal person to interface with the complex pieces Evans was writing for his ensemble, and eventually the Homs/Blancarte/Black rhythm section was formed as the ideal cast to navigate through these challenges. In the past year of concerts and recording, the group has synthesized an enormous amount of material into a focused ensemble performance-practice. The group has played this music several times in New York and had its European debut in October 2010, a tour of Germany which included a performance at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2010. This festival has a long tradition of featuring adventurous jazz and improvised music, and commissioned Evans to write several pieces which are included in "Ghosts." The group will tour Europe again in March 2012.
Trumpeter/bandleader Peter Evans emphasizes, "The goal of this band is to create new sounds, have new experiences, even while using materials that may seem familiar on the surface. The use of live electronics is not to be seen as the focus of the music, but rather a single element that contributes to the overall aesthetic of the band. Ultimately, I am interested in the interplay of the the "fixed" and "unfixed" in sound, and the surprising things that occur when dynamic improvising musicians find their way through a tangled web of composition, electronic mirroring, past music, and each others' musical personalities. Ideally, not one element should have precedence over another."
Evans' writing is tailored to the talents and potential of each of the members of the group, including his own. The compositions move from metrically modulating bebop ("…One to Ninety Two") to rhythmic ostinati , free improvisation ("323") and disjointed, mechanistic rhythmic frameworks (the end of "Articulation"). These pieces come after several years of composing for various groups, both for his small jazz ensembles (trio and quartet) and for the International Contemporary Ensemble (of which Evans is a member), which premiered compositions by Evans at the Helsinki and Darmstadt festivals in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
In the last year alone Peter Evans has been working in myriad contexts, continuing his solo trumpet performances worldwide, playing as a member of Moppa Elliott's "Mostly Other People Do the Killing" (Rising Star Jazz Ensemble, Downbeat 2010), the International Contemporary Ensemble (which in 2010 performed the complete chamber music of Edgard Varese in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and recorded a disc of Iannis Xenakis chamber music for Mode Records), premiering and recording compositions by composers such as Nathan Davis and John Zorn, as well as several collaborative groups with musicians such as Evan Parker, Nate Wooley, Weasel Walter, and Mike Pride. He moves freely between worlds of jazz, free improvisation and contemporary composed music, even continuing a yearly performance of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, NY.
Pianist Carlos Homs is a new talent, still only 24 years old, introduced to Evans by percussionist/composer Tyshawn Sorey. At an early age, Homs has cultivated an enormous amount of experience, playing with luminaries such as Reggie Workman, James Moody, William Parker and Sorey. His new record label, "New Dawn Records," will feature adventurous New York City artists, including Homs himself.
Bassist Tom Blancarte is a regular collaborator with Evans and has appeared on both albums by the Peter Evans Quartet and the duo album "Sparks" on Creative Sources. Blancarte has a unique, fearless and virtuosic approach to the bass which makes him a lead voice in any ensemble. He is a member of guitarist Brandon Seabrook's highly acclaimed trio "Seabrook Power Plant" and continues to work in improvised and composed music settings.
Jim Black is one of the most important musicians of his generation and remains one of the most influential (and busiest) living drummers. Currently writing for both Alas No Axis and The Jim Black Trio, featuring Elias Stemeseder and Thomas Morgan, Black moves easily between the most rigorously composed music and the fully improvised. From his early work in Tim Berne's Bloodcount and Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio, to a smorgasbord of current bands, Black has continued to expand his vision of the drums as a musically integral part of every project.
Sam Pluta operates as a performing musician and a composer; he is one of the few improvising electronic musicians to exist in both worlds so comfortably. In addition to his performing schedule (collaborations with Ann Le Berge, Jeff Snyder, George Lewis), he is the technical director of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a NYC based group that for over a decade has performed and recorded some of the most challenging new music from established composers such as Peter Ablinger and George Lewis to emerging talents like Alex Mincek, Eric Wubbels and Pluta himself. He has had compositions premiered by Dave Eggars, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Wet Ink and Yarn/Wire. He is also the co-founder of Carrier Records.