August 31, 2010

The Evans Family

Todd C.C Evans better known in the poetry world as "The Son Of Black" was born in Philadelphia, PA, March 8, 1965 to the late Playwright Donald T. Evans and the late singer Frances J. Evans. The Son of Black refers to his father being a Black History Professor and mother instilling Black pride into her children. Todd was introduced to the arts through his parents and Godfather, the late Ken McClain.

In his youth, Todd has won a writing contest with Ebony Magazine. Much of Todd’s work reflects on music and the ups and downs of urban street life and modern day situations. He has co-written two songs with his brother, jazz musician, Orrin M. Evans, on the Imani Record Label. His work has also been heard on Eadon’s Place.Com. Todd has been a finalist in several on-line poetry contests and his new book, Staggerlee Booker T. and Me, will be out on FavorTwoU, Inc. Publications,
Todd resides in southern New Jersey with his wife and two children. He has also cared for three foster children.

Born into a family of artistic educators,Rachel Marianno spent most of her younger years surrounded by theater and music. Her father was a playwright and taught African-American history at Trenton State College and her mother was an accomplished Mezzo-Soprano while serving as the Assistant Director for the after school program at the YWCA in Trenton, New Jersey.

This energy created a desire in her to perform. Rachel has studied dance, piano, creative writing and drama. She attended Mercer County High School for the Performing Arts where she nurtured her talent while acting and dancing in a variety of shows and showcases. While in high school Rachel performed in "Good News Charlie Brown," "The Wiz" and also had the opportunity to perform some of her original monologues and poems.

After graduation Rachel attended Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts majoring in Elementary Education. Still, there was a need to perform so she put her voice to work as a Gospel DJ on a local radio station.

In 1991 Rachel graduated with honors from Northeastern and started her tenure in the Philadelphia Public School System while also attending Cheney University to attain her Masters.

As an educator Rachel will continue to make a difference in children throughout the Philadelphia area. As a performer, Rachel has performed at Freedon Theater, The Don Evans Black Box Theater, the Karamu Theater and many other venues. She continues to travel and read original poetry and those of great writers that came before her.

Orrin Evans was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1976 and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. He attended Rutgers University, and following this studied with Kenny Barron. Since moving to New York in the winter of 1995 Orrin Evans has been recognized as one of the most distinctive and inventive pianist of his generation. In a short span of time Orrin has earned the titles of pianist, composer, bandleader, teacher, producer and arranger.

Growing up in a musical city like Philadelphia was extremely important to early development of Orrin’s career. Philadelphia afforded Orrin the opportunity to study informally with the likes of Trudy Pitts, Shirley Scott, Mickey Roker, Bobby Durham, Edgar Bateman, Sid Simmons, and formally with William Whitaker, Jack Carr, and Charles Pettaway. In 1993, after attending Girard Academic Music Program, Orrin was accepted into the Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University. While attending Mason Gross some of his teachers included Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Ralph Bowen, & Ted Dunbar. They instilled in him the importance of the fundamentals of jazz as well as the necessity of listening to and living the music.

After moving to New York in August of 1996 Orrin was invited to join Bobby Watson’s band “Horizon” on their European tour. This opportunity introduced Orrin to the New York jazz scene. His recording and performing resume includes Wallace Roney, Mos Def, Common, Pharoah Sanders, Antonio Hart, Carmen Lundy, Ralph Peterson, Ralph Bowen, The Mingus Big Band, Roy Hargrove, Nicolas Payton, Brandford Marsalis, Gary Bartz, Eddie Henderson, Sean Jones, Tim Warfield, Ravi Coltrane, Robin Eubanks, Duane Eubanks, and Dave Douglas.

Orrin’s recording career started in 1994 with a self-produced trio release called “The Trio” featuring Matthew Parrish on bass and Byron Landham on drums. The release can now be found on the Imani Record label under the title “Déjà Vu”. In 1996 he was introduced to Gerry Teekins from Criss Cross records. This relationship afforded Orrin the opportunity to release six critically acclaimed recordings for the Criss Cross label. During a hiatus from Criss Cross Orrin released recordings for the Palmetto record label and his own label Imani Records. In 2002 Orrin combined forces with drummer Donald Edwards, vocalist JD Walter, saxophonist Ralph Bowen, and his wife vocalist Dawn Warren to form the band Luvpark. The band recorded the critically acclaimed self titled album “Luvpark” and is presently working on the release of their sophomore recording.

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.

Evans spent 3 years as a teacher at the coveted Germantown Friends School where he taught middle school music and conducted three jazz ensembles. He returned to Settlement Music School to teach individual piano lessons, theory lessons and an advanced jazz ensemble. He continues to be a musical commentator, conducting workshops, clinics and master classes both in the United States and abroad, while continuing to record and tour with his own bands.

The newest Orrin Evans disc, “Live in Jackson, Mississippi”, on the Imani Records label is available at retailers or on I-Tunes.

Lately Orrin’s greatest joy has been producing projects for other artists like Sean Jones and playing with his own band, which at different times, has included such notables as Ralph Peterson, Jr., Sam Newsome, Ralph Bowen, Nasheet Waits, Reid Anderson, Eric Revis, JD Allen and Duane Eubanks.

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