Providence’s Evening Sky isn’t your typical jazz band, and it isn’t your typical roots music band either. The quartet of pedal steel guitarist Chris Brooks, drummer Eric Hastings, …
Providence’s Evening Sky isn’t your typical jazz band, and it isn’t your typical roots music band either. The quartet of pedal steel guitarist Chris Brooks, drummer Eric Hastings, bassist Joe Potenza and electric guitarist Gino Rosati find a balance between the two styles. At the same time, they also incorporate elements of country, R&B, funk, soul and jam to have a multi-dimensional sound. It’s evident with their brand-new EP titled The Long Weekend that came out April 8. Along with the quartet, Phish and Roomful Of Blues collaborator Carl “Geerz” Gerhard contributes his talents on trumpet and flugelhorn while local jazz fixture Ben Shaw comes in on tenor saxophone.
Both Rosati and Hastings handled the production of the EP while North Kingstown native Graham Mellor recorded it with the band at his studio Uptown Sound in Providence. Jack Gauthier then took on the mixing duties at Lake West Recording in West Greenwich while Scott Craggs did the mastering at Old Colony Mastering in North Scituate. Overall, the result is a stellar audio quality that makes it effortless to get lost in the music and immerse your senses in the syncopation of the instruments.
“This band has come to be focused on two things: One, developing an ensemble sound that works with original compositions as well as with covers and two, collaborating with guest artists,” Potenza says. “This EP showcases both of those efforts. By the time Gino brought in those compositions, we had put in a lot of work on the sound of the band. We two guitars dancing over some interesting grooves with everyone listening while leaving space for each other. We’d also been doing a lot of recording with several singers, as well as flutist Wendy Klein, so we were comfortable with welcoming guests into our sound.”
“The recording went down smoothly because we knew what we were trying to achieve,” he adds. “Still when we heard the playbacks we were really pleased, and somewhat surprised, at the results. Playing the material live with Carl & Ben was so much fun.”
Rosati composed each song on the record, which is incredible given the complex and cohesive arrangements. He wrote some of them during the height of the pandemic back in April of 2020 when he was cooped up at home and the majority of live music was on hold.
“I wrote ‘Where the Sea Meets The Stars’ first,” He says about the songwriting process. “It was originally titled ‘Folk Song #3’ because numbers 1 and 2 crashed and burned horribly, but then I eventually changed the song to its current name. Around May I spoke with Graham [Mellor], who is an awesome recording engineer, and I wanted to go to his studio and record some tunes. He has great gear in a great sounding room and because of Covid-19 he was not on the road so he was available. When we spoke, he mentioned that Doug Woolverton was recording his record there and might need some tunes, so I started writing ideas that I thought would sound good on trumpet.”
“I ended up coming up with ‘Thames Street Crawl’ and ‘Chicory Coffee’,” he adds. “The latter was untitled at the time, but Eric Hastings eventually came up with the name for this tune. Unfortunately, by the time I was done writing these two tunes, Doug had already recorded enough material for his project and didn’t need any new material. I then thought I would call my good friend Carl Gerhard and see if he was available, he said he was available and said he would love to do it. We also had just finished recording six songs with Ben Shaw, he wrote these tunes specifically for Evening Sky and I loved the way those tunes came out with his energy.”
After Rosati asked Shaw to jump on this project, he knew they were in business. Both Shaw and Gerhard combined their talents excellently and after a few rehearsals they did the recording sessions that resulted in the EP.
“Carl and Ben sounded awesome together in rehearsal, they both had a great sound that blended together perfectly,” he mentions about having them involved. “We then rehearsed the tunes a few times and everyone kind of came up with their parts. Once we were satisfied, we went into Graham’s studio and recorded all the tunes in one day. Then we got them mixed and mastered, which actually took longer than expected. I think the tunes came out really good and they are fun to play, everybody really stepped up and played great.”
Whether it’s “Thames Street Crawl,” “Sunday Afternoon,” “Chicory Coffee” or “Where the Sea Meets The Stars,” you can’t go wrong with either track off The Long Weekend EP. I personally recommend listening to it from start to finish for the full listening experience, but that’s just my approach to these kinds of things. To give the record and listen and make a purchase, log on to Evening Sky’s Bandcamp page at eveningsky.bandcamp.com. If you’re the type who likes a variety of musical styles riding a steady groove, then you must grab a copy of this and press play.