"The clear-cut best pianist of his time...” is how Hot House Magazine” described Orrin Evans in 1998, praise which was echoed again in the summer of 2002. This remarkable talent was nurtured in a household filled with music due to the efforts of his mother, a classical singer who surrounded the youngster with everything from the melodies of Puccini to the pulsating rhythms of Basie and Ellington. He learned from what he heard which is still the case today when he acknowledges such musicians as Trudy Pitts, Tim Warfield, Kenny Barron, Ralph Peterson, Edgar Bateman, Mickey Roker and Bobby Durham as inspirational guides. His formal study was at Philadelphia's prestigious Settlement School of Music under Charles Pettaway.
The New York Times described the pianist as “...a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command”, a quality undoubtedly recognized by the legendary saxophonist Bobby Watson who engaged Evans as piano chair for his band, a position he has held for six years. Orrin has recorded with Bobby on Live and Learn (Palmetto Records), Quite as it's Kept (Red Records) which features one of Orrin's original compositions “Looking in Your Eyes”. Bobby also recorded another of Orrin's compositions “Two Stepping with Dawn” on Bobby Watson & Curtis Lundy Project (Sound Hills Records). Orrin has been playing with the Charles Mingus Big Band for the past three years. He has also toured with such diverse talents as the evolutionary Wallace Roney, Stefon Harris, and Antonio Hart.
For Orrin Evans, however, the greatest joy is playing his own band which, at different times, has included such notables as the aforementioned Ralph Peterson, Sam Newsome, Ralph Bowen, Nasheet Waits, Reid Anderson, John Swana and Duane Eubanks. Besides touring and recording, Evans is also a teacher and musical commentator, having conducted workshops, clinics and master classes both in The United States and abroad. When not on the road, he teaches privately. The newest Orrin Evans adventures are; “Meant to Shine”, his latest cd on the Palmetto Records label, two projects on his own label, IMANI Records, one from the group SEED, and “Dejavu” by the Orrin Evans Trio, (both available online).
Orrin is also a PennPat (Pennsylvania Performing Artists on Tour) roster artist. Non-profit and government organizations in the mid-Atlantic region may qualify for funding for performances and residencies.