While living in Washington, Evan’s home was touched by four distinctly different religions. His mother was brought up in a Christian household, but eventually began following Buddhist teachings. His father on the other hand was raised Jewish, but later became a devotee of the guru Adi Da Samraj. Just as religion served his various family members, music is now the balancing force in Evan’s life. And following in their footsteps, improvisation became Evan’s own personal method of meditation.
Later in life, Evan studied music at the University of North Texas. During his stay, he had the opportunity to compose, perform, and travel with the Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. This ensemble served as the perfect setting to experiment with composition and orchestration for large ensembles. Evan was able to record several albums with the group and began building his reputation as a big band arranger. His pieces were performed at a series of sold-out concerts featuring guests such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Rich Perry, Bill Holman, Phil Woods, and Wayne Bergeron.
While in college, Evan took time to explore the world of electronic effects and sound processing. He recorded and toured with Nobody’s Business, an electric quartet whose unique textural and rhythmic concept transcended genre. During this period, he also began performing with in the Hildegunn Gjedrem Group. Performing with this phenomenal Norwegian singer demanded a new approach, blurring the line between the solos and the song itself. Other band members included UNT alums Michael League (Snarky Puppy) on bass and Ross Pederson on drums. Moving away from typical jazz styles laid the foundation for Evan’s exceptionally compositional approach to improvisation.
Although he is well versed in bebop and swing, Evan’s improvisations are a departure from the traditional jazz solo. He is part of a new wave of musicians who seek an intensely personal approach to music. In the spirit of his jazz predecessors, Evan seeks to help the music evolve and grow for generations to come.
Evan’s debut album Math or Magic features voice, strings, woodwinds, symphonic percussion, and cinematic sound effects to send the listener through a mesmerizing array of musical environments. This project displays a sense of maturity and compositional unity that is very rare among musicians of such a young age.
Recently, Evan has performed his compositions in Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, China, Italy, and Poland. He can be heard at clubs in Dallas and New York throughout the year.
Evan Weiss on his philosophy of music:
“The most powerful compositions stretch far beyond the abilities of the individual player. It is not the composer’s job to create the music, but rather to enable the members of his ensemble to perform. This distinction is especially prevalent in jazz because the composer of a given piece is often also a performer and an improviser. In improvised music, the writer must relinquish control to his fellow players for a piece to reach its full potential. That element of risk is the primary reason that I am a musician.”