James Evans' Octuple Odyssey's latest, The Golden Whippet of Algiers, is a mishmash of humor and musicianship as traditional jazz meets contemporary classical. Evans' New Orleans-based 8-piece takes listeners on a jazz journey that is both fun and a pleasure to listen to. Tracks like 'I'll Never Love an Udder' continue the tongue-in-cheek wit displayed in the album title. Clarinetist/composer James Evans is Welsh-born. He moved to New Orleans in 2013 and has forged a career playing traditional jazz. On this album he showcases his compositional skills as well as his jazz chops.
The Octuple Odyssey takes on a hectic, circus-like tinge on 'Kournicova Bending Over' and 'Just Under Me.' 'Rising Start' has an intriguing sound, like the Glenn Miller Orchestra on mushrooms. They take a romantic turn on 'Leap of Faiths' and 'Sweet,' then bring back the humor with 'Pigeon Pigeon.' Pigeon doesn't sound like a tongue twister-- until you hear it 200+ times in four minutes. It's a subtle "pigeon," though; somehow not annoying given the talented musical overlay. Evans' saxophone skills really shine on 'A Good Life.' He also flies on clarinet, particularly on 'Canute.' The album closes with the noir 'Never Goodbye,' my favorite on the album.
Find out where James Evans' Octuple Odyssey is performing locally on our Livewire Music Calendar.