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 music 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, Alexander Hawkins, Jon Jang, Darren Johnston, Lewis Jordan, Oliver Lake, Lenora Lee, Myra Melford, Hafez Modirzadeh, Louis Moholo-Moholo, 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, Trevor Watts, 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)
"Apura! is another modern classic, sure to sit alongside the many records that inspired it, and hopefully the future albums it spawns. (4.5/5 stars)" - Free Jazz Blog, Review of Karl Evangelista's Apura! (Lee Rice Epstein)
"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)
"All four musicians are master improvisers and since each one has so much creative spirit & ideas to draw from, everyone finds ways to weave so many fascinating streams of interaction and solos. There is a sense of calm at the center here, as if no one is in a rush to go anywhere, just to converse and create. Improv disc of the year?!? No doubt!" - Downtown Music Gallery, Review of Karl Evangelista's Apura!
"[Evangelista] wrings a plethora of sounds from the electric guitar, touching on timbres less commonly heard in this context: soft-edged swells, rock growls, brittle pick-work and soaring feedback... When Evangelista is locked into a moment, he's a big presence." - The Wire, Review of Karl Evangelista's Apura!
"Evangelista is often that guy from the 21st century crashing a circa 1966 ESP-Disk recording session, setting up a lot of intrigue that puts this music in a place all its own." - Something Else! Reviews, Review of Karl Evangelista's Apura (S. Victor Aaron)
"[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)
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 Grex: Everything You Said Was Wrong (Geomancy, 2020) Karl Evangelista with Alexander Hawkins, Louis Moholo-Moholo, and Trevor Watts: Apura! (Astral Spirits, 2020) Karl Evangelista's Song & Dance Trio: Title TK (Upcoming) Live at the Golden Triangle XXI (with Grex, KFJC Compilation) (KFJC/2019) Jordan Glenn's BEAK (Geomancy, 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)