CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE - photo credits (L to R): Lenny Gonzales (1), Katerina Evangelista (2&3), Lauren Miyake (4)
Filipino-American guitarist/composer Karl Evangelista (b.1986) ranks among a new wave of musicians pushing the traditions of jazz and experimental rock into the 21st century. Synthesizing the heavy legacy of contemporary improvised music with popular song and 20th century composition, Evangelista explores multicultural concepts with sonic intensity and political fervor.
Signal to Noise magazine hails Evangelista as "one of the most original instrumentalists and composers of his generation," and as the creative force behind boundary-breaking group Grex, Evangelista's music has been called an "otherworldly experience" (Eugene Weekly), "a near-seamless blend of modern jazz, contemporary structuralist composition, indie rock, and blues rock" (Tiny Mix Tapes).
Evangelista has explored new realms in sound and intercultural collaboration across a vast spectrum of academic and professional situations. He has worked in a wide variety of ensembles with or under the direction of, among others, Achyutan (Marvin Patillo), Bruce Ackley, Scott Amendola, Tatsu Aoki, Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), India Cooke, Nava Dunkelman, Fred Frith, Eddie Gale, Jordan Glenn, Ben Goldberg, Phillip Greenlief, Jon Jang, Darren Johnston, Lewis Jordan, Oliver Lake, Lenora Lee, Myra Melford, Hafez Modirzadeh, Bill Noertker, James Norton, Larry Ochs, Zeena Parkins, John-Carlos Perea, Dan Plonsey, Gino Robair, Rent Romus, Daniel Schmidt, Marcus Shelby, Aram Shelton, David Slusser, Damon Smith, Karen Stackpole, Melody Takata, Marshall Trammell, Eli Wallace, Wayne Wallace, and AIR co-founder Francis Wong, and has performed in new arrangements of works by Luciano Chessa, Christian Jendreiko, Polly Moller, Moe! Staiano, AACM co-founder Muhal Richard Abrams, and Art Ensemble of Chicago co-founder Roscoe Mitchell. Evangelista has presented work at the Guelph Jazz Festival, the United States of Asian America Festival, Myra Melford's New Frequencies Festival, the Switchboard Festival, the Sonic Circuits Festival, and the Outsound New Music Summit, and he was awarded a 2011 Zellerbach Grant for Taglish, a suite centered on Filipino-American culture; an album of the composition was successfully funded via Kickstarter and released in 2012.
Evangelista holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from UC Berkeley (Summa Cum Laude, '06) and an MFA in Improvised Music from Mills College ('09). He has lectured at UC Berkeley and directed guitar ensembles at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts and San Francisco Waldorf High School. Karl is also a licensed instructor in the popular Kinderguitar method.
"Karl Evangelista's guitar squawks and sizzles like a Fred Frith and Sonny Sharrock death match." - The Stranger (Dave Segal)
"a highly personal body of work combining jazz, Filipino folk melodies, American pop forms and 20th century experimentalism." - SF Gate (Andrew Gilbert)
"Evangelista's rampaging guitar solos on "Husk" are straight out of Zappa's '80s playbook... lethal guitar licks packing plenty of thunder." - Sea of Tranquility, Review of Grex's Electric Ghost Parade (Pete Pardo)
"Coming from a free-jazz, improvisational background, creating spontaneous art was Evangelista's general methodology with Grex... The resulting songs are dynamic and at times quirky and jubilant, like something Bay Area avant-pop band Deerhoof might play." - East Bay Express (Aaron Carnes)
"Evangelista wields a swell grouchy guitar tone, Scampavia's pipes are sweet, and when they freak out, they freak out good." The Vinyl District, Review of Grex's Electric Ghost Parade (Joseph Neff)
"[Though] Grex never stand in one musical place too long... the one true constant is Karl A.D. Evangelista's quite stunning guitar work that itself can take on many 'faces'. An excellent release." Echoes and Dust, Review of Grex's Electric Ghost Parade (Ljubinko Zivkovic)
"...a screaming, guitar-fueled cover of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. It's true to the spirit of the original in that it's highly improvised. Yet Karl Evangelista's guitar, Rei Scampavia's keys and guest Dan Clucas' cornet channel much more angst in the face of trying to connect with some type of higher power, compared to Coltrane's fervent reverence. In a very hubristic, punk-inspired way, it's a twisted masterpiece." - New York Music Daily, Review of Grex's A Love Supreme (Alan Young)
"Evangelista's work on guitar [is] fascinating, moving from melodic and "in" to the most "out" and producing a surprising variety of effects and subtle nuances." - Doobeedoobeedoo (Dahwoud Kringle)
"[Karl evoked] similar sizzling experiments by such innovators as Ornette Coleman and the late Ronald Shannon Jackson... Evangelista saw no need to spurn melody, and his efforts were stronger and more engaging for having overcome this particular phobia." - San Francisco Classical Voice, Review of SFFCM Music Day (Jeff Kaliss)
""Filipino-American guitarist Karl Evangelista constructs off-kilter musical structures that shift gears when you least expect it." - The Arts Fuse (J.R. Carroll)
"Evangelista is quite a versatile guitarist... fast-paced and virtuosic" - Cat Synth (Amanda Chaudhary)
Primary: Grex (w/M. Rei Scampavia a.o., 2009-present), Karl Evangelista’s Song & Dance Trio (w/Cory Wright & Jordan Glenn, 2009-present)
Other Bands as Leader or Co-Leader: Revenant (w/Michael Coleman, Tom Djll, Nava Dunkelman, etc., 2013-present), Ai-Ai (Grex w/Eli Wallce, Bob Ladue, and Jordan Glenn, 2012-present), Images: The Music of Sun Ra (w/Phillip Greenlief, David Boyce, Dan Clucas, Dominique Leone, Jordan Glenn, et al.), Swarm Intelligence (Grex w/Phillip Greenlief, Cory Wright, Dan Seamans, and Jordan Glenn), Dino Piranha (w/Phillip Greenlief, Noah Phillips, Bill Wolter, and Jordan Glenn, 2011-2012), Host Family (w/Jason Hoopes, Jordan Glenn, and Andrew Conklin or Nathan Clevenger, 2007-2009)
As a Sideman: Francis Wong Unit (2006-present), Lewis Jordan with Music at Large (2010-present), Scott Amendola Trio (2017-present), Jordan Glenn's BEAK (2017-present), New Zombies (Music of Dan Plonsey, 2018-present), Lo Conocen (w/Bruce Ackley, Nava Dunkelman, Jordan Glenn, 2018-present), John-Carlos Perea Trio (2013-present), Cabbages, Captain, and King (w/Eli Wallace, Jon Arkin, 2013-2016), Jordan Glenn's Mindless Thing (2012-present), Shaken Flesh (leader: Jordan Glenn, w/Rent Romus, Michael Coleman, 2012), Bob LaDue Band/DennyDennyBreakfast (2012-present), Papa Snap (leader: Alex Vittum, music of Fela Kuti, 2010-2016), Eddie Gale Now Band (2010-2012)
Discography Karl Evangelista's Song & Dance Trio: Title TK (Upcoming/2019) Jordan Glenn's BEAK: Title TK (Upcoming/2018) Grex: Electric Ghost Parade (BRUX/Geomancy, 2018) Conure: ...Making Way for the Future (2018) Karl Evangelista/Grex: A Love Supreme (BRUX, 2017) Lewis Jordan and Music at Large: This Is Where I Came In... (2017) Jordan Glenn: BEAK LIVE (Minus Zero, 2017) Jim Ryan/Jordan Glenn: Mindless Thing (Edgetone Records, 2017) Instagon: Black Cactus (LEM, 2017) Instagon: Such Presumptuous Thoughts (TIF) Marc Edwards & Slipstream Time Travel: Mystic Mountain: Trouble in the Carina Nebula (2016) UnderCover Presents: A Trbute to Bjork's Homogenic (w/DennyDennyBreakfast, 2016) Cabbages, Captain, and King (Edgetone Records, 2015) Grex: Monster Music (BRUX, 2014) Andrew Jamieson: Heaven Down Here (2014) Jack O' the Clock: Night Loops (2014) Karl Evangelista/Grex: Taglish (SUA, 2012/2013) The Roman Conquest: Myriad (2013) The $100 Guitar Project (Bridge Records, 2013) Sam Ospovat: PIKI (2012) Grex: Second Marriage (SUA, 2011) Wiener Kids: What A Mess (2011) Dino Piranha: Live at the Makeout Room (2011) The Eddie Gale Inner Peace Orchestra: The Remake and Beyond of Eddie Gale’s Ghetto Music (2011) Grex: Live at Trinity Chapel (2011) Karl Evangelista Trio: Live at Kingman’s Ivy Room (2010) Jordan Glenn: Mama Long Legs (2010) Lewis Jordan w/Music at Large (online only, 2010) Grex: Live at Home (SUA, 2010) Host Family: Dream Recess (2010)