Mile Davis has described young saxophonist Bill Evans as "One of the greatest musicians I've ever come upon" - praise indeed from a master musician and a suitable endorsement for one of the music's most original, inventive and exciting new entrants.
Born in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, in 1958, Evans studied classical piano from age 5. By age 12, Bill put the piano studies aside in order to concentrate on the clarinet and tenor sax. By 16, he had also reached concert status as an accomplished classical pianist. A year at North Texas State University was followed by graduation from New Jersey's William Paterson College. He also took private saxophone lessons with Bunky Green in Chicago and David Liebman in New York. It was Liebman who recommended Evans as saxophonist for Miles Davis' acclaimed comeback band in 1980.
Since his emergence in the early '80s, Evans has also effectively contributed to the band Elements with bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottlieb, John McLaughlin's revamped Mahavishnu Orchestra, and has recorded and toured with with Herbie Hancock, Andy Summers, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour and Michael Franks.
In 1984, Evans left the Davis band and recorded his breath - taking solo album Living In The Crest Of A Wave - an album so brimming vitality, exceptional arrangements and atmosphere, it stands as a remarkable first effort.
In 1985, Bill Evans' growing stature in jazz was confirmed when he became one of the first new musicians to be recorded by the reawakened Blue Note Label. His '85 "The Alternative Man" is an advance on even his excellent first album and features six guitarists - John McLaughlin, Hiram Bullock, Jeff Golub, Sid McGinnis, Dave Hart and Chuck Loeb.
In 1994, Evans was one of first jazz artists to experiment with hip-hop on his CDs and in live performances. On his stellar releases "Push", "Escape" and "Live in Europe", Bill brought a rapper into the jazz/hiphop idiom. What an innovative sound he was able to create with this unlikely partnership.
For the past 10 years, Bill has been touring Europe and Asia with his band, doing 80 plus concerts per year. As a special treat, Bill has been featuring guest vocalist, Les McCann for a very soul inspired set.
Bill's recent release, "Soul Insider" has been #2 on the charts in Germany since its release in September. This release is expected to release in the U.S. at the end of March. "Soul Insider" features Bill Evans-tenor, alto and baritone Les McCann-vocals, Ricky Peterson-B3 organ, Dean Brown-guitar, John Scofield-guitar, James Genus-bass, Tim Lefebvre-bass, Steve Jordan-drums, Don Alias-percussion, Lew Soloff-trumpet, Conrad Herwig-trombone, and Vaneese Thomas-background vocals. What a lineup!
Whether playing flute, keyboards, tenor or soprano saxes, or arranging and producing his own fine compositions, Evans is undoubtedly a musician with an extraordinary depth of vision. Bill Evans has brought with him a much - needed breath of fresh air.
What more can be there to prove his excellence and mastery, it is obvious by looking at the artists he has performed with!