Orrin Evans - Piano
Robert Hurst - Bass
Mark Whitfield Jr. - Drums
For more than two decades, pianist Orrin Evans has made an art form of the unexpected. With more than 25 albums to his credit without ever relying on the support of a major label, Evans has become the model of a fiercely independent artist who’s made a habit of rattling the jazz world’s confining cages. That determination has paid off in accolades like topping the “Rising Star Pianist” category in the 2018 DownBeat Critics Poll and two GRAMMY nominations. As a daring pianist, Evans combines raw-edged vigor and left-field nuance into a sound wholly his own. As an adventurous composer he traverses stylistic boundaries with abandon, drawing on full-throttle swing, deep rooted blues, expressive soul or bracing excursions into the avant-garde. As an audacious bandleader, he delights in daring fellow musicians to take bold risks. As an inventive collaborator, his projects range from the nerve-rattling collective trio Tarbaby, to the guitar/piano duo project Eubanks-Evans-Experience, and Brazilian project Terreno Comum.
Orrin’s latest all-star album ‘The Red Door’ is out now on Smoke Sessions Records, where he once again flings that door open, delighting in the collaborators, friends, inspiration, and history that he finds inside. Looking back, Evans has opened that door time and time again, always with fortuitous results. There was the decision to pursue and life in jazz, the initial red door that led to a series of others: summoning the courage to test his mettle in the notorious jam sessions at Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus in Philly; braving a move to New York with growing confidence but no sure prospects (“I didn’t get a gig, but i got a wife” he laughs); launching how own big band, a formidable undertaking that ended up garnering him two GRAMMY nominations; joining The Bad Plus and then striking out on his own again despite the band’s ongoing success.
“Pianist Orrin Evans demonstrate(s) how thrilling jazz can be when it refuses to abandon tunes but also refuses to be constrained by them.”
“The Red Door is a masterful high point in a career that continues to climb.”
– All About Jazz