A student of David Liebman as well as Gary Smulyan, Evans has also plainly spent a lot of time listening to 20th century classical music, balancing his compositions on this disc between plain jazz language and a more "classical" concept of rhythm and harmony. His command of the instrument is such that he can play well into the altissimo register, rendering a very broad tonal range, exploiting the high notes as well as the deeper sounds. Some of the most strident sounds can be found in "Junie Part II," dedicated to Evans’ father, which he then follows with a tune dedicated to Liebman that opens with a beautiful unaccompanied solo line, full of multiphonics and slowly-evolving textures. When the other saxes enter, you almost don’t realize it’s overdubbed at first.
Throughout the disc, the tone is almost elegiac. Even in the tune that pays tribute to Gerry Mulligan, the overall feeling is one of darkness. Evans declares in the liner notes that the closing piece "What Would of Ives" (another dedication, this one to his first teacher Bill Zaccagni) is the one with irony and humor, but truly to my ears it comes across as more serious than playful. Which is not to say that the music isn’t wonderful! This CD, despite its cover art, is a keeper that I will easily listen to repeatedly. Whether you agree that the bari is the "King of All Instruments" or not, Evans makes quite a case for it.