Filipino-American guitarist/composer Karl Evangelista (b.1986) ranks among a new wave of creative musicians grounded in jazz, 20th century experimentalism, and popular song, exploring the place of multiculturalism and ethnic co-existence in an increasingly post-cultural, trans-idiomatic cultural space. 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 has been called "essential current-and-future listening," his music "a near-seamless blend of modern jazz, contemporary structuralist composition, indie rock, and blues rock” (Tiny Mix Tapes). This complex, powerful aesthetic fosters an “otherworldly experience” that is “completely original” (Eugene Weekly).
Evangelista has explored the possibilities of intercultural dialogues across a vast spectrum of academic and professional situations. Evangelista has worked in a wide variety of ensembles with or under the direction of, among others, Achyutan (Marvin Patillo), Scott Amendola, Tatsu Aoki, Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), India Cooke, Fred Frith, Eddie Gale, Ben Goldberg, Matthew Goodheart, Phillip Greenlief, Darren Johnston, Lewis Jordan, Myra Melford, Hafez Modirzadeh, Bill Noertker, James Norton, Zeena Parkins, John-Carlos Perea, Gino Robair, Daniel Schmidt Marcus Shelby, Aram Shelton, David Slusser, Damon Smith, Karen Stackpole, Moe Staiano, Melody Takata, Wayne Wallace, and AIR co-founder Francis Wong, and has performed in new arrangements of works by Luciano Chessa, Christian Jendreiko, Polly Moller, AACM co-founder Muhal Richard Abrams, and Art Ensemble of Chicago co-founder Roscoe Mitchell. Evangelista’s interest in fostering cross-cultural musical dialogues has also led to grant-based research (’08) on the Blue Notes, a group of South African exile musicians (paper presented at the Guelph Jazz Festival, ’08), multiple guest lectures at UC Berkeley, and continued work at the community-based East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. Via Asian Improv aRts, Evangelista was awarded a 2011 Zellebach Grant for the composition of Taglish, a suite centered on Filipino-American culture; an album of the composition was successfully funded via Kickstarter and released in late 2012. Evangelista holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from UC Berkeley (’06) and an MFA in Improvised Music from Mills College (’09).
"True Genre Warping music..." (KFJC)
"Evangelista is quite a versatile guitarist... fast-paced and virtuosic" (CatSynth)
"[Karl Evangelista and Grex take] their cue from farther back, when art-college-gestated bands like Genesis and Henry Cow were musically voracious, ridiculously intense, and technically adventurous." (Foxy Digitalis)
"The striking thing about [Evangelista's musc] was its stubborn refusal to eschew any element in favor of another... Each offered with a headlong creative urge that made the unexpected turns and sequences into a joyful expression." (HurdAudio)