Bill Evans (saxophonist)

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Bill Evans
Evans in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2004
Evans in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2004
Background information
Birth nameWilliam D. Evans
Born (1958-02-08) February 8, 1958 (age 63)
Clarendon Hills, Illinois, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, bluegrass
InstrumentsTenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Years active1979–present
LabelsElektra/Musician, Blue Note, Jazz City, Lipstick, ESC, BHM, Vansman
Associated actsMiles Davis, Elements, Mahavishnu Orchestra

William D. Evans (born February 8, 1958) is an American jazz saxophonist,[1] who was a member of the Miles Davis group in the 1980s and has since led several of his own bands, including Push and Soulgrass.[2] Evans plays tenor and soprano saxophones. He has recorded over 17 solo albums and received two Grammy Award nominations. He recorded an award-winning album called Bill Evans – Vans Joint with the WDR Big Band in 2009.

He has played a variety of music with his solo projects, including bluegrass, jazz, and funk. His style is influenced by Michael Brecker, Bob Berg, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Steve Grossman, and Dave Liebman.


Evans was born in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, United States.[1] His father was a classical piano prodigy and until junior high school Evans studied classical clarinet. He attended Hinsdale Central High School and studied with tenor saxophonist Vince Micko. Early in his studies he was able to hear such artists as Sonny Stitt and Stan Getz at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

Evans attended University of North Texas and William Paterson University, where he studied with Dave Liebman, an alumnus of trumpeter Miles Davis's early 1970s bands. Moving to New York city in 1979, he spent countless hours in lofts playing jazz standards and perfecting his improvisational style.

At the age of 22, he joined Miles Davis and was part of his comeback in the early to mid–1980s.[2] Notable albums recorded with Davis include The Man With The Horn, We Want Miles, Star People, and Decoy. Evans is unrelated to pianist Bill Evans (1929–1980), who played with Davis in the 1950s.[1]

He has played, toured and recorded with artists such as Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin,[2] Michael Franks, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Les McCann, Mark Egan, Danny Gottlieb, Ian Anderson, Randy Brecker, The Allman Brothers Band, and Medeski Martin & Wood. He is featured on the Petite Blonde album[2] with Victor Bailey, Dennis Chambers, Mitch Forman, and Chuck Loeb.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Evans was a member of the group Elements.[2] He joined the reformed Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1984 and performed with them until they broke up in 1987.[1] Beginning in 1990 he toured with his own band.[1]

Two of his albums, Soul Insider and Soulgrass, were nominated for a Grammy Award. Soulgrass was combination of bluegrass and jazz fusion that featured Béla Fleck, Sam Bush, Bruce Hornsby, and Vinnie Colaiuta.


Bill Evans in Berlin

As leader[edit]

  • Moods Unlimited with Hank Jones, Red Mitchell (Paddle Wheel, 1983)
  • Living in the Crest of a Wave (Elektra Musician, 1984)
  • The Alternative Man (Blue Note, 1985)
  • Summertime (Jazz City, 1989)
  • Let the Juice Loose: Live at Tokyo Blue Note Vol 1 (Jazz City, 1990)
  • The Gambler: Bill Evans Live at Tokyo Blue Note Vol 2 (Jazz City, 1990)
  • Petite Blonde with Victor Bailey, Dennis Chambers, Mitch Forman, Chuck Loeb (Lipstick, 1992)
  • Push (Lipstick, 1994)
  • Live in Europe (Lipstick, 1995)
  • Escape (Escapade, 1996)
  • Starfish & The Moon (Escapade, 1997)
  • Modern Days and Nights: Music of Cole Porter with Andy LaVerne, John Patitucci, Steve Davis (Double-Time, 1997)
  • Touch (ESC, 1999)
  • Soul Insider (ESC, 2000)
  • Big Fun (ESC, 2002)
  • Soulgrass (BHM, 2005)
  • The Other Side of Something (Intuition, 2007)
  • Vans Joint with Dave Weckl, Mark Egan, WDR Big Band Cologne (BHM, 2008)
  • Rise Above (Vansman, 2016)

With Elements

  • Elements (Philo, 1982)
  • Forward Motion (Antilles, 1984)
  • Blown Away (Passport, 1986)
  • Illumination (Novus, 1988)
  • Liberal Arts (RCA 1989)
  • Spirit River (RCA 1990)

With Steps Ahead

  • Steppin' Out (Jazzline, 2016)

With Randy Brecker, Robben Ford, Tom Scott

  • Echoes of Ellington Vol. 1 (Verve, 1987)
  • Echoes of Ellington Vol. 2 (Verve, 1988)

As sideman[edit]

With Victor Bailey

  • Bottom's Up (Atlantic, 1989)
  • Low Blow (ESC, 1999)
  • That's Right (ESC, 2001)

With Miles Davis

With Mark Egan

  • A Touch of Light (GRP, 1988)
  • Beyond Words (Bluemoon, 1991)
  • Freedom Town (Wavetone, 2001)
  • Truth Be Told (Wavetone, 2010)

With Michael Franks

  • Skin Dive (Warner Bros., 1985)
  • The Camera Never Lies (Warner Bros., 1987)

With Jeff Golub

  • Unspoken Words (Gaia, 1988)
  • Avenue Blue Featuring Jeff Golub (Bluemoon, 1994)
  • Nightlife (Bluemoon, 1997)

With Danny Gottlieb

  • Aquamarine (Atlantic, 1987)
  • Whirlwind (Atlantic, 1989)

With Chuck Loeb

  • Life Colors (DMP, 1990)
  • Mediterranean (DMP, 1993)

With Leslie Mándoki

  • People in Room No. 8 (PolyGram, 1997)
  • Out of Key with the Time (Sony, 2002)
  • Soulmates (Paroli 2002)
  • Aquarelle (Neo 2009)

With Lee Ritenour

  • Alive in L.A. (GRP, 1997)
  • This Is Love (i.e. Music 1998)

With Andy Summers

With Aziza Mustafa Zadeh

  • Dance of Fire (Columbia, 1995)
  • Inspiration (Columbia, 2000)

With Gianfranco Continenza

  • The Past Inside The Present (ESC Records, ESC 3725)[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 441. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e Yanow, Scott. "Biography: Bill Evans". AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
  3. ^ "Gianfranco Continenza Feat. Bill Evans & Scott Kinsey – The Past Inside The Present". Discogs.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]