Stan State Jazz Festival

2018 Stan State Jazz Festival

Friday, March 2 & Saturday, March 3.

Featuring Pianist Orrin Evans

Stefon Harris

Read about Orrin Evans

Artist Youtube Videos

"The Answer" - Orrin Evans Trio

Live @ The Jazz Standard (2013)

"Captain Black" - by Orrin Evans & Captain Black Big Band

Live @ The Jazz Gallary NYC (2011)


To Be Announced


The goal of the Stanislaus State Jazz Festival is to provide students and directors with a positive educational and musical experience in Jazz. Maximum interaction between students, directors, and guest clinicians will take place throughout the day, highlighted by various master classes from guest artists and clinicians.  The festival also includes several performances featuring festival clinicians, the Stan State Jazz Ensemble, and our guest artist Stefon Harris.

Festival Format

The festival is non-competitive. Clinicians will provide written and verbal feedback to the directors and students. Each band will receive a warm-up room for 25 minutes prior to their performance. Each band will be allowed approximately 25 minutes to perform (this includes setup and teardown), followed immediately by a 25 minute clinic.

Master Classes

Throughout each day, guest artists, as well as other area jazz educators, will give master classes that deal with specific improvisational topics.  A schedule of these master classses will be distrbuted a few weeks pirior to the festival.


Registration Now Open. Click here to register.


To Be Announced

About the Guest Artist

Over the course of a career spanning more than twenty years, pianist/composer Orrin Evans has always charted a vigorously individual path. Whether he chooses to express himself through his bold, muscular keyboard attack; through the raw soulfulness of his never-predictable bands; or off the bandstand, with his audaciously candid wit - there’s never any question where Evans stands. With 25 albums to his credit without ever relying on the support of a major label, he’s become the model of a fiercely independent artist who’s made a habit of rattling the jazz world’s confining cages.

Evans’ scintillating new album, The Evolution of Oneself (Smoke Sessions), takes stock of the pivotal moments that have shaped his distinctive trajectory. The album is one more landmark in his musical evolution, introducing a remarkable new piano trio with two longtime associates but first-time collaborators: bassist Christian McBride and drummer Karriem Riggins. The result is a raw and thrilling excursion incorporating a startlingly wide range of influences, from jazz and neo-soul to country and hip-hop.

Such stylistic distinctions have never proved particularly daunting for Evans. While he’s remained firmly rooted in the blues and bop tradition, his style is accented liberally by influences from nearly every direction, ranging from soul-jazz to the avant-garde, R&B to rock. His projects range from the neo-soul/acid jazz ensemble Luv Park to the bracing collective trio Tarbaby and the raw, raucous Captain Black Big Band.

His broad-minded, provocative approach has afforded Evans a stunning variety of opportunities, from his early stints as a sideman with artists like saxophonist Bobby Watson and drummer Ralph Peterson to his own strong and expressive discography as a leader. That catalogue includes collaborations with a who’s-who of modern jazz, including trumpeters Nicholas Payton, Sean Jones and Avishai Cohen; saxophonists Oliver Lake, JD Allen and Larry McKenna; bassists Christian McBride, Eric Revis, Ben Wolfe, Luques Curtis, Reid Anderson and Mike Boone; drummers Karriem Riggins, Bill Stewart, Nasheet Waits and Donald Edwards; and guitarists Marvin Sewell and Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Inspired by his father, professor and playwright Don Evans – whose preferred brand of tobacco is the basis for the name of the Captain Black Big Band – Evans has also reached beyond the confines of jazz and music in general for his collaborators. He has worked with poets Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka and created multi-media projects with dancers and videographers. His work as a composer has also grown increasingly ambitious, including the soundtrack for the PBS documentary Revolution ’67 and suites commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center (in honor of Sun Ra’s centennial) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (celebrating Thomas Hart Benton’s mural “America Today.”)

Significant credit for that brash diversity can be traced to Evans’ longtime home, Philadelphia, a city not exactly known for its delicate sensibilities. Born in Trenton, he was raised in North Philly and, aside from a four-year span in the mid-90s when he made the inevitable move to New York City, has stayed there ever since. He spent his formative years testing his mettle in the city’s jam sessions, being mentored (or, perhaps more accurately, schooled) by elders like Shirley Scott, Trudy Pitts, Arthur Harper, Mickey Roker, and Sid Simmons.

Seeing a lack of similar opportunities for younger players in the modern, academia-focused jazz scene, Evans has seized every available opportunity to export that old-school Philly nightclub vibe. He’s been booking venues since he was a teenager, starting in now-defunct Philly clubs like the Blue Moon and Zanzibar Blue and continuing with jam sessions at his hometown’s World Café Live and New York’s Zinc. Today, he has a weekly residency at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club on the Upper West Side and has recently launched a weekly series at South, Philadelphia’s newest jazz venue and restaurant.

Evans has also passed the mentorship torch along through a variety of teaching engagements, including a three-year stint instructing middle to high school students at Germantown Friends School in Northwest Philly, sparking a bug that he’s carried into Connecticut’s Litchfield Jazz Camp and the Kimmel Center Jazz Camp, headed by bassist/producer Anthony Tidd. He’s also shared his expertise as a guest speaker at jazz festivals, music conferences, and with organizations like PennPAT and the Philadelphia Music Project.

More directly, Evans has helped capture the electricity of peers and up-and-coming artists alike as a producer, a role that allows him to imbue other musicians’ projects with his own vibrant spontaneity. He’s been particularly vital in the studio with vocalists – a diverse roster that includes JD Walter, Denise King, Joanna Pascale, Michelle Lordi, and M’Balia Singley – but has also helmed recordings by saxophonist Sharel Cassity and bassist Eric Revis.