Born: October 21, 1985 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Evan Weiss was born and raised near Seattle, Washington. In addition to playing the trumpet, much of his childhood was spent hiking and camping in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Living in a musical household, he was able to pick up bits of knowledge from his two older brothers. And at the age of 11, Evan was given his very first CD: Clifford Brown. From that moment on, he devoted his studies to the art of improvisation and began study with Seattle bebop legend, Don Lanphere.
Later in life, Weiss 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. Weiss 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, Weiss 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. Moving away from typical jazz styles laid the foundation for Evan’s exceptionally compositional approach to improvisation.
After college, Weiss moved to Brookyln and released his debut chamber music album on Greg Osby's label, Inner Circle Music. Now in Dallas, Weiss plays in several original groups including The Polyphonic Spree and The Funky Knuckles. He also currently produces and records horns for everything from film music, to orchestral rock, to gospel, to pop, to jazz. Weiss also has used this time to expand his compositional horizons beyond big big with new commissions for Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.
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.
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.”