Pianist Orrin Evans presents Club Patio
 a weekly livestream from the front patio of his home in Philadelphia featuring special guests playing for an intimate audience
Upcoming concerts include Buster Williams, Lenny White, Ari Hoenig, Justin Faulkner, Johnathan Blake, Nasheet Waits and more
Live stream is available every Sunday from 4pm-6pm and archived for 48 hours at https://www.facebook.com/imanirecordsmusic
Throughout his career, pianist Orrin Evans has strived to nurture what he calls “The Village,” a congenial network that embraces not only his ever-expanding circle of collaborators but the audiences that he welcomes into his music’s celebratory atmosphere.
That spirit has obviously been dampened over the tumultuous past few months as The Village, along with the rest of the world, has been quarantined, social distanced, and locked down. With jazz clubs shuttered and festival stages empty for the foreseeable future, Evans decided to start Club Patio, a weekly performance livestreamed from his home in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia and featuring a rotating cast of guest musicians and an intimate audience on the front lawn – all safely masked and practicing social distancing.
“This is a new world for us,” Evans says, “and we have to figure out how to make it work. I’m not ready to play indoors with an audience right now – and the world’s not ready for that either. This gives us a chance to play in front of an audience, while the people watching it virtually are getting a real concert with real reactions, real applause and real laughter.”
Club Patio takes place every Sunday throughout the summer from 4pm-6pm; while the in-person audience is limited to an invitation-only group of ten, each show is streamed live via the Imani Records Facebook page. Guests in the coming months will include jazz legends like bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White; modern jazz greats including Nasheet Waits, Ari Hoenig and Johnathan Blake; regular Evans bandmates such as Anwar Marshall, Byron Landham and Luques Curtis; and rising stars. Concerts will be archived for 48 hours, allowing anyone who misses the live event two days to catch up on their dose of “Vitamin M.”
The stream is free, but donations are strongly encouraged via Venmo, Paypal or Cash App. Those funds help support the high standards of video and audio that Evans insists upon for his presentation, provided by longtime collaborator Jason Fifield of Slife Productions.
By stressing the idea of music as “Vitamin M,” Evans is pointing out the very real value of music in our lives – something that’s been profoundly missed as we’ve all tried adjusting to our new reality. Hearing and seeing live music came with a ticket price before, so the pianist hopes audiences will recognize the need to pay for this vital and enriching service even from a digital distance.
“People sometimes think of this as helping out starving artists,” Evans says. “The reality is that when I played music before the pandemic, I got paid. The only thing different now is I’m playing music during a pandemic. The audience should still feel like that’s worth paying for.”
Club Patio was launched informally in late May, while drummer Jason Brown was waiting out a two-week quarantine period as a guest in the home the pianist shares with his wife, Dawn Warren Evans. Months from their last real gigs and in the face of rising protests across the country, Evans decided on the spur of the moment to host a jam session on his front patio. The trio was completed by bassist Madison Rast, while saxophonist Kwame Hall sat in.
“It was very impromptu, but it also felt urgent,” Brown recalls. “Orrin just felt like something needed to happen. He’s so good about making you feel comfortable, so there was instantly a house party vibe, like I was together with good friends, having a few cocktails and playing some music, despite the gravity of that moment. Orrin is a visionary, and unique among visionaries his visions only work with maximum inclusion.”
Bassist Luques Curtis recently made his Club Patio debut, along with drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. in a set that featured drop-ins by drummer Byron Landham and saxophonist Victor North. “I had a blast,” Curtis says. “It was good to play in front of people again. I was able to bring my kids to see music, which I always like to do during the summer. The audience vibe helps a lot; although it’s a limited number of people placed far away, it still helps to see faces – even masked ones – and people enjoying themselves and reacting to what’s going on onstage.”
Club Patio continues this Sunday, July 12, when Evans will be joined by drummer Lenny White and bassist Buster Williams. The remainder of the summer schedule includes:
July 12th – Buster Williams (bass), Lenny White (drums)
July 19th – Dylan Reis (bass), Anwar Marshall (drums)
July 26th – Jon Michel (bass), Anwar Marshall (drums)
August 2nd – Vince Ector (drums), Matthew Parrish (bass)
August 9th – Nasheet Waits (drums), Luques Curtis (bass)
August 16th – Alex Claffy (bass), Justin Faulkner (drums)
August 23rd – Johnathan Blake (drums), Madison Rast (bass)
August 30th – Ari Hoenig (drums), Kevin Arthur (bass)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *