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DC Jazz Festival Announces Orrin Evans’ Artist Residency

Christian Wissmuller • News • December 21, 2021

The DC Jazz Festival® (DCJF) has announced Orrin Evans, prolific pianist-composer-bandleader, will serve as the DC Jazz Festival’s Artist-In-Residence for a 2-year period beginning January 2, 2022.

Orrin Evans’ DCJF residency is part of the Jazz Road Creative Residencies program, a program of South Arts. Jazz Road Creative Residencies is a uniquely artist-centric program that promotes artistic flexibility. “With a Jazz Road Creative Residency grant, artists have the flexibility to design and propose their own project. We are putting the direction and power directly in the hands of the artists,” said Sara Donnelly, program director with South Arts.

“Making music has always been an essential part of my life but presenting music is also a passion,” said Orrin Evans. “The chance to create and fellowship with the music scene in DC is a welcome one, and I am so excited about the possibilities. My sincere thanks to South Arts and DC Jazz Festival for the opportunity.”

A major component of Evans’ DC Jazz Festival Jazz Road Creative Residency will revolve around highlighting his brilliant Captain Black Big Band. One of the goals of Orrin’s residency will be to promote a musical/cultural exchange between DC and Philadelphia. Orrin’s Jazz Road Creative Residency will emphasize the historical jazz provenance of the large ensemble, or big band, including the flexible component parts capable of performing as small ensembles. Orrin will also conduct a master class as part of DC Jazz Festival Education, and participate in DCJF’s We Get to Talk podcast series with host and DCJF CEO Sunny Sumter.

Orrin Evans’ residency will include the creation of a big band master class at Howard University Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts’ Howard University Jazz Ensemble in March 2022. Additionally, Orrin will premiere a new work inspired by his residency experience that will find him engaging in creative partnerships with DC’s vibrant artist community, including cross-discipline engagements. These will include pop-up performances with DC artists throughout Orrin’s residency, and the creation of a series of performances outside of the Festival. The Captain Black Big Band, with a very special guest vocalist, will also perform on the main stage of the 2022 DC JazzFest.

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. Orrin attended Rutgers University where he studied with NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron. As a bandleader Orrin Evans has piloted ensembles ranging from trio to his Captain Black Big Band. He has recorded as a leader for the Criss Cross, Posi-Tone, and Palmetto labels, as well as his own Imani label. More recently Evans has recorded for the Smoke Sessions imprint. Recently, he toured and recorded as pianist in the acclaimed trio The Bad Plus.  Orrin Evans was born in Trenton, New Jersey and raised in Philadelphia in a deeply artistic environment: he’s the son of opera singer Frances Gooding and noted playwright Don Evans.

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