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 66)
Clarendon Hills, Illinois, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, bluegrass
Instrument(s)Tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Years active1979–present
LabelsElektra/Musician, Blue Note, Jazz City, Lipstick, ESC, BHM, Vansman

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
Bill Evans live @ Leverkusener Jazztage 2019

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Year released Notes
1983 Living in the Crest of a Wave Elektra Musician 1984
1985? The Alternative Man Blue Note 1985
1989 Summertime Jazz City 1989
1989 Let the Juice Loose: Bill Evans Group Live At Blue Note Tokyo Jazz City 1990 live at Blue Note Tokyo
1990 The Gambler: Bill Evans Live At Blue Note Tokyo 2 Jazz City 1990 live at Blue Note Tokyo
1993 Push Lipstick 1994
1994 Live in Europe Lipstick 1995 live
1995–96 Escape Escapade 1996
1997? Starfish & The Moon Escapade 1997
1998 Touch ESC 1999
2000 Soul Insider ESC 2000
2002 Big Fun ESC 2002
2004–05 Soulgrass BHM 2005
2007 The Other Side of Something Intuition 2007
2012 Dragonfly Self-released 2012
2016 Rise Above Vansman 2016
2011 The East End Jazzline 2019 featuring Etienne Mbappe, Wolfgang Haffner, WDR Big Band Cologne
2018 Live Down Under Not On Label 2019 featuring The Spykillers, Wolfgang Haffner

Co-leader with Hank Jones, Red Mitchell

  • Moods Unlimited (Paddle Wheel, 1983) – rec. 1982

Co-leader with Randy Brecker, Robben Ford and Tom Scott

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

Co-leader with Victor Bailey, Dennis Chambers, Mitch Forman and Chuck Loeb

Co-leader with Andy LaVerne, John Patitucci and Steve Davis

  • Modern Days and Nights: Music of Cole Porter (Double-Time, 1997)

Co-leader with Randy Brecker

  • Soul Bop Band Live (BHM, 2005)

Co-leader with Dave Weckl, Mark Egan and WDR Big Band Cologne

  • Vans Joint (BHM, 2008)

Co-leader with Robben Ford

  • The Sun Room (Ear, 2019)
  • Common Ground (13J Productions, 2020)

As a member[edit]


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

Steps Ahead

  • Steppin' Out with WDR Big Band (Jazzline, 2016)

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

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 Mahavishnu (John McLaughlin)

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

With Aziza Mustafa Zadeh

With Andy Summers

With Gianfranco Continenza

  • The Past Inside The Present (ESC, 2007)[3]

With Wolfgang Haffner

  • Dream Band Live In Concert (ACT, 2022)


  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. Archived from the original on April 30, 2019.

External links[edit]