April 30, 2014 |
It's a challenge to keep even a small band going for any length of time in the current jazz climate, and maintaining a big band that splits its time and membership between two cities is even harder. But pianist Orrin Evans has done just that, helming his Captain Black Big Band for more than four years since its beginnings at Chris' Jazz Cafe in late 2009. So why does he regularly corral 14 musicians from New York and Philly to tackle the ensemble's boisterous arrangements? "When I figure that out, I'll probably stop doing it," Evans said with a shrug last week over lunch at McMenamin's Tavern near his home in Mount Airy.
June 19, 2011 |
'My plan is always to be playing," says Philly pianist, composer, and arranger Orrin Evans. Judging from the last 18 months, the plan is working. He and his quartet play two shows Saturday night at Chris' Jazz Cafe, but that's just the latest in a very busy year and a half. In January 2010, he put out, under his own name, a celebration of saxophonist Bobby Watson titled Faith in Action . In September, he cut an album titled The End of Fear with his avant-funk collective Tarbaby.
December 2, 1999 |
At the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition last month, with all eyes trained on him, Orrin Evans let his drummer take a solo. "The secret person inside of me would love to be a drummer," explains Evans, the only finalist gracious enough to let an accompanist step forward. It is just like Evans to improvise his behavior in a pressure situation. The Martin Luther King High School grad, who grew up in Mount Airy, revels in being unique. At the Washington, D.C., competition he dressed in gold Nigerian garb that sparkled beside the formal wear of his competitors.
July 25, 2007 |
Through the vestibule, past a conspicuously armed guard, the unlikely sound of live jazz beckons. This is the Wednesday night jam at Reuben's Marc, a comfortable neighborhood bar at 8131 Stenton Ave. in East Mount Airy. As bassist Mike Boone and drummer Wayne Smith weave through a fast tune, the keyboardist, fingers racing, dissects every chord with the ruthlessness of a world-class virtusoso. No wonder: the player is Philadelphia's own Orrin Evans, an acclaimed pianist with nearly a dozen albums to his credit.
January 27, 2016 |
For almost a decade after Zanzibar Blue closed its basement level in 2007, the jazz club scene in Center City seemed almost moribund. For several years, Chris' Jazz Cafe persisted as the last club standing, until first Time and then Heritage took up the slack, at least for local musicians. Finally, Zanzibar Blue owners Robert and Benjamin Bynum have reentered the fray with South, a new restaurant and "jazz parlor" counterintuitively located on North Broad Street. "Many people view jazz as a dying art form," said Robert Bynum, sitting in a booth a few weeks ago at the back of the 70-seat jazz space.
December 10, 2012
Anat Cohen , Claroscuro (Anzic Records). As jazz goes more international, it is only proper that a Tel Aviv-born clarinetist based in New York should play music from Brazil, France, Cuba, and South Africa, with some New Orleans sass thrown in. Only Anat Cohen, a master storyteller on reeds, can pull it off like this. Chick Corea / Eddie Gomez / Paul Motian , Further Explorations (Concord Jazz). This double-CD collection is a sonic feast. Pianist Chick Corea is wickedly formidable, whether teasing out a classic bop tune or waxing all cosmic.
December 3, 2002 |
Orrin Evans' record-release party on Sunday afternoon at Germantown's cozy Sedgwick Cultural Center was equal parts expressionist outburst and feel-good ceremony. The Philadelphia pianist, whose Meant to Shine has just been released by Palmetto Records, is on the verge of wider national recognition, and the event both displayed the musicianship that earned him his reputation and acknowledged the people who helped him along the way. Evans, 27, favors a serious but unburdened brand of '60s-influenced jazz, making for a grandness of presentation that did not clash with the afternoon's leisurely feel.
May 13, 2016
The South Jersey Jazz Society is bringing an impressive lineup of local and national jazz artists to Somers Point and Ocean City this weekend. Many of the acts playing this year's Cape Bank Jazz @ The Point Festival look back at the music's storied history, with a few torch-bearing younger artists who are carrying on the tradition. Below are a few sets not to be missed; events are at the Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, 908 Shore Rd., Somers Point, unless otherwise noted. Andreas Varady Quartet: Hungarian guitar prodigy Varady is only 17 but already has an impressive list of accomplishments to his name.
March 6, 2012 |
It's lunchtime in East Mount Airy, and pianist Orrin Evans is working on a killer salad complete with boiled eggs, nuts, and colorful produce - a garden bounty. Healthy eating keeps his blood pressure down, Evans says. So I'm guessing I'm not helping much when I bring up Evans' life's work, the African American classical music he is passionate about - jazz. See, these days, just uttering the word jazz is bound to get some people's pressure up. That's because Evans, 36, along with a small group of multiracial, multigenerational artists led by New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton, want to deep-six jazz - the name, not the art form - and resurrect it as Black American Music (BAM)
December 7, 2009 |
IT'S A TUESDAY evening at Chris' Jazz Caf?, but it feels more like Saturday night. The room is packed, the mood is vibrant, and there are 15 musicians projecting a raucous, full-throttle sound. The sound is large but not bombastic, raw without being sloppy, and seems to send an electric charge through the room. Standing in front, wedged between the band overspilling the small stage and the front row of tables, is Orrin Evans, dancing back and forth and shouting encouragement and instructions.