Riviera Maya Jazz festival 2016 | Bill Evans

Bill Evans

Who does Miles Davis, Gregg Allman, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks all have in common? Bill Evans, that’s who.

Bill is a world-class, Grammy Award winning saxophonist and producer who made his debut on the international music scene in the 1980’s, at the tender age of 21, with Miles Davis – yes, the Miles Davis. Bill has been very prolific in the studio, recording 19 solo albums to date. One evening you’ll see him walk on stage as a guest with the Allman Brothers. The next, rock out with Warren Haynes & Gov’t Mule. Then co-lead a European tour with Robben Ford or Randy Brecker. After that, he’ll jam with Medeski Martin and Wood, or trade solos with Jake Cinninger while sitting in with jam-band favorites Umphrey’s McGee. Bill is truly a 21st century renaissance man who can walk seamlessly from stage to stage.

What’s his main focus? What drives him the most right now? His band Soulgrass. A melting pot of quintessential American music. Evans style. Funk, rock, rhythm and groove. A genuinely unique powerhouse of grooves makes Soulgrass a band that defies all logic. Soulgrass is an idea that started in 2005, using the instruments of jazz, rock and bluegrass to record the Soulgrass album. Bill let the music grow naturally while touring, and the results speak for themselves. When asked about Soulgrass, here’s what Bill had to say – “I started touring with my own band in 1990. From the very beginning, every band I have led has grooved hard, regardless of the instrumentation, vocal or otherwise. It introduced me to all these other forms of music. Soulgrass takes everything I love and puts it in one place. Each musician in the band is very well versed in all kinds of music and has to be able to change it up on a moments notice. I use a banjo (Ryan Cavanaugh), singing drummer (Josh Dion), guitarist (Mitch Stein), and bass player (Dave Anderson). The music has no boundaries and it grooves extremely hard. The combination of Josh Dion’s vocals along with the saxophone continually evolves”.

“Bill is one of the greatest musicians I’ve come upon.”
– Miles Davis

“Unlike so many musicians today, Bill isn’t trapped by his past, or in “the past”. It’s what I love about him and his music. He’s not afraid to play what he feels, which is what makes Dragonfly such a unique and honest record.”
– John Medeski

“Tit For Tat” is a song Bill and I wrote together. It’s such a fun song to play, now my band’s playing it too.”
– Warren Haynes