Two time Grammy nominee and Pew Fellow, Orrin Evans has been recognized as one of the most distinctive and inventive pianists of his generation. In a short span of time Orrin has earned the titles of pianist, composer, bandleader, teacher, producer and arranger. The New York Times described the pianist as “…a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command,” a quality that has undoubtedly assisted in keeping Orrin at the forefront of the music scene.
The latest release by Evans, “It Was Beauty” marks his 20th recording as a leader and his seventh release for the label, Criss Cross, which he began recording for at age 21. In his 20-year plus career, heâ€™s been critically acclaimed for his imposing chops, his propulsive take on rhythm and harmony alike. Overlooked has been the beauty he creates through his art form. For the project, Evans convened four bassists â€“ Eric Revis, Ben Wolfe, Luques Curtis, and Alex Claffy â€“ and drummer Donald Edwards, all bandstand partners in recent years.
Growing up in a musical city like Philadelphia was extremely important to early development of Orrin’s career. Philadelphia afforded Orrin the opportunity to study informally with the likes of Trudy Pitts, Shirley Scott, Mickey Roker, Bobby Durham, Edgar Bateman, Sid Simmons, and formally with William Whitaker, Jack Carr, and Charles Pettaway. In 1993, after attending Girard Academic Music Program, Orrin was accepted into the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. While attending Mason Gross some of his teachers included Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Ralph Bowen and Ted Dunbar. They instilled in him the importance of the fundamentals of jazz as well as the necessity of listening to and living the music. After moving to New York in 1996, Orrin was invited to join Bobby Watson’s band “Horizon” on their European tour. This opportunity introduced Orrin to the New York jazz scene. His recording and performing resume includes Wallace Roney, Mos Def, Common, Pharoah Sanders, Antonio Hart, Carmen Lundy, Ralph Peterson, Jr., Ralph Bowen, The Mingus Big Band, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Branford Marsalis, Gary Bartz, Eddie Henderson, Sean Jones, Tim Warfield, Ravi Coltrane, Robin Eubanks, Duane Eubanks and Dave Douglas.