Norman Evans - Places of Magic
Norman Evans hails from Connecticut and grew up there, surrounded by
music and inspired by visiting New York musicians.
His talent was developed at the Educational Center for the Arts
and by performing in a number of bands.
first CD "Heirloom" was the product of this period of learning
and growth. He has gone on
to open for Spyro Gyra, George Howard, and Pieces of A Dream, among
a brave venture for a solo artist to write, play and produce everything
on a fifteen-song album and I’ve set out here to pick my favourite
opener Easy Rider bounces along nicely on a synth drum groove and
I like the chord sequences, even if the melody doesn’t really go
anywhere. The song is
crying out for a background vocal.
the fourth track, In Your Name, we finally hear Evans on soprano
sax – that’s more like it! He
sounds sweet too! There’s
a strong melody on this track and some good blowing sections.
haunting Riverwinds has ideas worth developing and if sax had
been used as the lead voice, we might have heard more of its potential.
There is too much synthesizer for me, but rhythmically it’s the
strongest song here, especially in its second half.
the strange Sorcerer, Evan’s great acoustic piano sound makes
an all-too-brief appearance.
sax is back for Renaissance and it’s a breath of fresh air.
The guy has a really, I mean really good sound and when he
doubles the keyboard line, it makes me smile!
There’s good blowing on here over that strutting rhythm – I
want to hear more sax. I
did lots of head-nodding to this one!
has a pretty melody which I’d love to hear on acoustic guitar
(somebody call Earl Klugh…) and in my head I can hear it.
That happy beat is headed in the right direction but needs
review of “Heirloom” that I read suggested that Norman Evans needed
to make his sax sound stand out from the pack.
Despite a market flooded with good saxmen (and women) I think he
has the talent to do that; his tone is lovely and he can blow.
I also believe that using his often very tasteful keyboards as a
backdrop for his own sax (or anyone else’s) will be better than using
it so much as a lead voice. That
piano sound needs to be heard much more.
Norman Evans can team up with the right people and find a label that
will invest in his next project, we will have heard the beginnings of
Reviewed by Chris Mann