Live Jazz: The Miles Evans Band at Catalina Bar & Grill

By Tony Gieske

It was the most music in one place at one time in all history, although that may be because I got carried away.

Miles Evans

The Miles Evans band that is playing at Catalina Bar & Grill for two nights this week gave us cataracts, mountains and hurricanoes of invention on Monday.

If you think of good old, cool old “Boplicity,” arranged by Evans’ father Gil and his namesake Miles Davis, and then stack six of those into a single piece, with an Elvin Jones/Buddy Rich/Dave Tough drum track and a pack of 4th of July soloists, it’ll give you some idea.

The leader played trumpet from a stance way to the left of Ornette Coleman, intensely romantic for a bar or two and suddenly scorching around in, I swear to you, uncharted territory.

Jamie Kime, Mitch Forman, Doug Webb
Darryl Jones

The tenor saxophonist Doug Webb kept to the wild side on a path all his own, feeding off a Coltrane style boom boom vamp from bassist Darryl Jones of the Rolling Stones  and the drummer Bernie Dresel, who’s worked with Chaka Khan, Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson and the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Nothing on Dresel’s set rang; you heard little sledge hammers hitting the surfaces and then stopping dead. As one would expect, it was stunning.

The third wind player, Scheila Gonzalez, played alto and baritone in a slightly — ever so slightly — more conventional manner, and swung just as hard. She used to play with Zappa.

Mike Blumberg, Bernie Dresel, Scheila Gonzalez

A pair of guitarists, Jamie Kime, and Mike Blumberg, played complementary roles, Kime soloing with an arsenal of timbral  twists and Blumberg playing soulful single string. Both of them played rhythm in the Freddie Green manner, which is to say inaudibly.

Keyboardist Mitch Forman got an effect like McCoy Tyner playing harpsichord, with a commendably ample bag full of  creativity in his solos and his comping, which never disappeared despite the soloists’ indomitable competition.

Photos by Tony Gieske.  Read and see more of Tony Gieske’s jazz essays and photos at his personal web site


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