Deeply intrigued and ultimately inspired by American roots music, saxophone legend Bill Evans wrote, produced and recorded "Soulgrass" in 2005, garnering a Grammy nod in the process. Soulgrass was a breakaway new fusion of jam, rock, funk, roots and jazz, blending the banjo, fiddle, mandolin and dobro, combining the best musicians from Jazz and Americana. Three more CD's followed in the Soulgrass genre, "The Other Side of Something", "Dragonfly", and the 2014 release of "Live in Moscow" recorded during the first of two sold out U.S. State Dept sponsored tours of Russia. Each subsequent release found Bill pushing the musical boundaries of Jazz and Improvisational rock. "Combining banjo and fiddle with rock guitar became very natural for me in my live band and recordings. With the addition of vocals, we were reaching a much larger audience of all ages."
After 10 years of touring and breaking new ground with Soulgrass, in 2015 Bill introduced the "Bill Evans Band", a hard hitting montage of Jazz, Rock, instrumental and vocals. Evans and drummer Josh Dion are both featured as the new groups lead singers. The "Bill Evans Band" features Saxophone/vocals, Guitar/vocals, bass and drums/vocals with a seamless blend of Jazz, rock and groove. "People really relate to this band. We're not afraid to play anything. The Bill Evans Band takes people on a musical journey with jazz, funk, and rock and roll. For me, that's the definition of jazz – Improvisation and Exploration that people can still relate to!"
"RISE ABOVE" is Bill's latest and most accessible release to date (2016). On this, his 24th solo offering, Evans explores rich and haunting vocals from special guest singers, including legend Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, JJ Grey, Anders Osborne, Murali Coryell, and Josh Dion. Says Bill, "This recording has been an epic journey. My vision from the beginning was to record with some of my favorite singers, and work on a different song with each one of them. The goal was to still make a cohesive and solid performance out of all this music. It went far beyond my expectations. Sheer pleasure start to finish!"
"RISE ABOVE" is tied together with Evans' pedigree and love of soulful melodies and hard-hitting grooves, as it has been from the very beginning. In addition to his powerhouse guest vocalists, this recording also features: Jake Cinninger (Umphrey's McGee) and Mike Stern on guitar, as well as a who's who among Jazz and Jam Band musicians.
Evans is a world-class saxophonist and producer who made his debut on the international music scene in the 1980s originally with Miles Davis, (at the age of 21 years old and recorded 6 records with Davis) which led to playing with the likes of John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Mick Jagger and Willie Nelson to name a few. With 24 solo albums, Grammy nods, and countless collaborations and tours, Evans has continued to explore a dazzling variety of adventurous musical settings as a pioneering bandleader, consistently winning fans in the worldwide arena. RECENT HIGHLIGHTS include touring and/or performing with his own Bill Evans Band as well as Warren Haynes, Robben Ford (Soulgrass meets Blues), Phil Lesh & Friends, The Stern/Evans Band, Medeski Martin & Wood, and countless sit-ins with The Allman Brothers Band, Umphrey's Mcgee, Moe, Blues Traveler, Galactic and more. Evans will be spending much of his time touring with the Bill Evans Band in support of his new album "Rise Above".