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, he has 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; Eric Revis, Ben Wolfe, Luques Curtis, and Alex Claffy, and drummer Donald Edwards, all bandstand partners in recent years.
"...a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command, "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.
Orrin's recording career started in 1994 with a self‐produced trio release called "The Trio" (re‐released as "Deja Vu" on Imani Records) featuring Matthew Parrish on bass and Byron Landham on drums. He then went on to release six critically acclaimed recordings for the Criss Cross label. Orrin has also released recordings for Palmetto Records and his own label, Imani Records. 2008 saw the release of the debut self‐titled recording for the group Tarbaby, a co‐lead band with drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Eric Revis, and in 2010 they released "The End Of Fear" (Posi‐Tone), in 2011 Tarbaby received a
French American Cultural Exchange grant (FACE) from the Mid‐Atlantic Arts Foundation for the project "The Fanon Project" to be released on the Rogue Art record label Fall 2013. The Jazz Journalist Association presented Tarbaby with a 2013 JJA Jazz Award for "Short Form Jazz Video of the Year". The fourth cd from Tarbaby "The Ballad of Sam Langford" was released in June 2013 on Hipnotic Records. In 2010, Evans released "Faith In Action" (Posi‐Tone) which is a tribute to his friend and mentor Bobby Watson. This record received much critical acclaim and Grammy consideration. In 2012, Evans released "Flip The Script" featuring Ben Wolfe and Donald Edwards which also received critical acclaim and landed on many "best of" lists for the year. Another wonderful project of Orrin's is his 17‐piece Captain Black Big Band, whose self‐titled record, released in 2011 on Posi‐Tone, is culled from shows in Philadelphia and New York. CBBB’s follow up cd will be released in 2013, too. Orrin's greatest joy, besides spending time with his family, is producing projects for other artists like Sean Jones, and playing with his own band, which at different times features such notables as Ralph Peterson, Jr., Sam Newsome, Ralph Bowen, Nasheet Waits, Reid Anderson, Eric Revis, J.D. Allen, Stacy Dillard and Duane Eubanks.