Ben Shaw writes songs for—and sits in with—the band for a stellar session, with Chris Brooks, Eric Hastings, Joe Potenza, & Gino Rosati
Evening Sky is New England based Roots infused Jazz|Jazz infused Roots Band
EVENING SKY +1 BEN SHAW release show
Saturday, September 10, 2022
1119 N Main St. Providence RI 02904
Evening Sky Adds Another Plus One
Ben Shaw writes songs for—and sits in with—the band for a stellar session
It’s hard to imagine that Evening Sky, an eclectic, productive, accomplished and entirely unpredictable band could somehow find simpatico musicians to partner with—given their penchant for the unexpected. But they have. And not just one, but three (so far). Their new album, Evening Sky +1 with Ben Shaw is the band’s third in their fascinating, so-called “+1” series. The first two featured jazz & blues singer Leland Brown, and the second versatile talent Tish Adams.
Each entry in the series is a musical photograph capturing the sparks that organically emerge from two gifted entities; the constant is the band; the variable is the guest. Cool, right? Ben Shaw is the guest of the third +1 and he sure does make things interesting. The five-track release spotlights four of Shaw’s compositions as well as a cover of Keith Jarrett’s “Country.” Shaw wrote these tunes specifically for Evening Sky after joining the band for The Long Weekend EP.
The material Shaw developed for Evening Sky demonstrates vast emotional and musical range, from the moody to the frenetic, with a bolero thrown in for good measure. He’s a prolific composer capable of traversing genres: classical, jazz, and pop music. He’s released a few jazz albums as a leader and an Americana album showcasing his singer-songwriter mode. Clearly, he’s as versatile as his temporary bandmates and then some as he pushes the band in typically interesting directions. Indeed, the wonder, joy, and breadth that emerge from this session are truly astonishing.
The band is certainly a willing co-conspirator. Gino Rosati’s electric guitar veers between stinging and strummy. Chris Brooks’s steel guitar lays down subtle chordal soundscapes. Eric Hastings hammers out an array of styles, from John Bonham (“Down the Stairs”) to Tony Williams, with the help of his equally versatile rhythm partner, bassist Joe Potenza. Shaw takes full advantage of the understanding at work in Evening Sky, hinting at the influences of Coltrane and Lloyd, among others.
But don’t get the wrong idea. This is not an indulgent vanity project. While Evening Sky may bring an enigmatic recipe to the stage every night, it’s not a self-absorbed abstraction. It’s meant to be accessible. It’s meant to be understood and enjoyed
Recorded and produced by Hastings at the Grapevine in Providence; mixed by Bradford Krieger at Big Nice Studios in Lincoln and mastered by Scott Craggs at Old Colony Mastering in Scituate, Evening Sky +1 with Ben Shaw is the sound of what happens when a band of adventurous musicians willfully delights in upending conventions, but, at the same time, makes sure it doesn’t leave its audience behind
Evening Sky enjoys a monthly residency at the Parlour in Providence, where they have the luxury of flexing their chops while entertaining open-minded audiences.