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Pianist Orrin Evans returns to Seattle with his trio

Orrin Evans leads his trio at Seattle's Royal Room Thursday night
Kayfield Photography
Orrin Evans
Orrin Evans leads his trio at Seattle's Royal Room Thursday night.

Pianist, composer and bandleader Orrin Evans is a Philadelphia native based in New York City. Seattle, though, has become well acquainted with Evans through his connections to area musicians and appreciative audiences.

Evans leads a trio at the Royal Room for two shows Feb. 23 with bassist Eric Revis and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Listen for Evans and Revis with Seattle trumpeter Thomas Marriott on Friday's Studio Session Spotlight show and hear his piano with The Bad Plus later that night on The New Cool.

The trio format is just one way Orrin Evans showcases his playing and composing. He founded the Captain Black Big Band in 2009 and brought them to Seattle to play last summer. That group features Marriott on trumpet, and the jazz connection between these two has been fruitful for years.

Marriott has employed Evans' piano with his Human Spirit band for his album Dialogue: Live at the Earshot Jazz Festival in 2012. Evans also appears on three quartet recordings from Marriott, including Live from the Heat Dome released last year.

Evans releasedrecent albums with a quartet and with fellow Philadelphian Kevin Eubanks in a guitar and piano duo. Next week's appearance in Seattle, though, features a pair of world class trio partners.

Eric Revis is best known for his decades playing bass in the Branford Marsalis quartet and has worked often with Evans in recent years. "Smitty" Smith emerged in the '80s drumming with Steve Coleman's group M-Base. He also worked with Eubanks as a member of the guitarist's Tonight Show with Jay Leno band in the '90s.

About his music, Evans has said that he goes "head-first for a lot of things. Wherever the music takes me, I'm going there." His boundless creativity pushes his collaborators, and these two Seattle shows next Thursday promise a modern look at the traditional piano trio.

As Bad Plus drummer Dave King put it when explaining why they chose Evans to replace the trio's longtime pianist Ethan Iverson: "He's a limitless, non-judgmental, creative musician. He comes from all the musical traditions and doesn't put them in a hierarchy, he just plays music."

Thomas Marriott hosts the weekly jam session at the Royal Room Monday night, and don't be surprised if he hops back up on that stage with his trumpet to guest with the Orrin Evans Trio Thursday.

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. LISTEN ON DEMAND

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.