The smooth jazz world got its first taste of the cool, soulful cosmopolitan saxophonist Evan Carydakis in 2021, when the Australian born, University of New England educated artist dropped his perfectly titled five track EP Groove House. Among other accolades, it hit two Smoothjazz.com charts and earned the praise of Jazz World Monthly. More than just a high impact collection heralding the emergence of an exciting new genre artist, the collection was a sparkling celebration of his multi-faceted career up till then, marking 25 years since he first performed onstage.
Using the music to make a personal statement, he also fashioned Groove House as an homage to his family – including his brother and producer Stephan. As he said upon its release, his parents were first generation immigrants who “worked hard and selflessly gave everything for their four children, so I’m very blessed to have this opportunity in my life.”
Those dynamically melodic, sonically adventurous and tightly grooving blessings continue on “Movin’ On,” his spirited and whimsical new single whose titular message meets our collective moment as we navigate the emotional and spiritual possibilities of these post pandemic times. Combined with his passionate emotional expressiveness, the track’s punchy, infectious melody and blasts of percussive energy urge us to move past the anxiety and darkness with hope and optimism.
If it feels like the perfect post-COVID song, there’s a good reason. Evan wrote “Movin’ On” from a point of discipline, as the first of three songs he wrote for a COVD-safe concert in between lockdowns at St. John’s Anglican Church in his hometown in Tasmania. “I basically sat down on my scoring programme and began to write music with that concerti in mind,” he says. During those same sessions, he wrote “Soul Survival” and “Summer Days,” which he says may just become radio singles next year.
Though “Movin’ On” can definitely be interpreted as a universal message of motivation, Evan explains that his original intent was a song about being our best selves, “which essentially means to be the best you can be without comparing yourself to others. It’s also about living in the moment because our life on this earth, when you think about it, and comparatively speaking, is pretty short and transitory. So you have to appreciate what’s in front of you, whatever that may be. As I have gotten older, I appreciate that more and more!”
Smooth jazz being a highly collaborative medium, Evan invited two very special guest artists to help him share the optimistic magic of “Movin’ On” – keyboardist Michael Whitaker and the always explosive guitarist Patrick Yandall. Whitaker provides dreamy atmospheres and colorful and slinky old school synth harmony lines that might remind retro-fusion fans of the late George Duke’s soul adventurousness. Yandall gets in on the action quickly, getting in a few slick, edgy bars of his string magic about a minute into the track.
Evan’s connections via Smooth Jazz Global made these inspiring appearances possible. He hooked up with Yandall via Sue Parker (Artist Development) and was introduced to Whitaker by recording artist Warren Keller of Spontaneous Groovin’ Combustion. “Sue has the innate ability to match artists with other artists and their songs, and she really hit a home run with Patrick,” Evan says. “He was a gentleman and a total pro – just phenomenal. When I reached out to Michael, I didn’t know what to expect, but his performance, ears and production savvy too the song to another level.”
Now having laid an incredible foundation in the genre, look for Evan Carydakis to become a major force in smooth jazz in the coming years!