Usually recording in collaborative formats, Evans took to the solo piano for this endeavor. After all, who could express his grief and gratitude appropriately alongside him? But don’t call it a tribute, as Evans himself refers to the recording as a “snapshot” of Linda, seen through the lens of his own heart.
Evans explains, “I was trying to capture the spirit of who Linda was. She had a very childlike spirit and a real curiosity about life. And she was incredibly intelligent. We were together for almost 30 years and I knew her better than anybody. So this has been something of a catharsis for me and something that I’m really proud that I was able to do.”
Unable to even come near the piano for three-and-a-half months, writing and recording Invisible Words was part of his healing process. Maybe even the start of it.
Linda was an artist, both as a teacher and as a painter. When Evans was packing up Linda’s studio, he found a handwritten quote which read, “Music is the invisible word, made visible through sound.” This album is a reckoning with that idea.
The album opens with Invisible Words. The tender melody is, at once, melancholy and memorable. But what is also so very clear is the gratitude in every note. Evans’ gratitude for having known Linda at all permeates every tone throughout the whole album. It begins with the first track and never lets up.
As Evans himself admits, the album became “not only something I wanted to do but something I had to do.” The results are extraordinary.
Brightest Light is his enduring and endearing picture of Linda. It is indeed bright and there are half-beat rests, complete rests, that had an astonishing impact—almost a full stop for his grief amidst his memory.
Made Visible is the last part of the quote Evans discovered in Linda’s handwriting. I decided to try listening to Invisible Words and Made Visible back-to-back and the results were moving but would have been too obvious if tracked that way on the album. Well done, Mr. Evans.
From Lucia’s Happy Heart (written for Linda in 2006 in honor of her Italian heritage) to The Hope Card (referencing Linda’s interest in Buddhism), the songs paint an exquisite picture of the persona Linda was and what she meant to Falkner Evans.
The album concludes with Invisible Words for Linda. There is love and memory but also hope found there. It is the shortest piece on the album but that’s the way love is, lengthy sentences and many words are not necessary between two people in love. They are a treat and a delight to speak and to hear but, when that loved one is gone, what is there to say but thank you for being you and being here.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl