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A Short Bio:
Nick Evans has been one of the major exponents of the trombone on the British and European jazz scene during the last three decades. Of course, his main claim to fame in strictly Canterbury terms is his short stint in the legendary augmented line-up of Soft Machine in late 1969, and subsequent appearances on the band's landmark albums «Third» and «Fourth». But this association came about through his involvement in pianist Keith Tippett's groundbreaking late 60s sextet, and it is alongside Tippett and fellow brass players Elton Dean and Mark Charig that Evans made his greatest musical achievements.
Born in Wales in 1947, Nick Evans started playing the trombone at age 11, and after learning the basics of the instrument, soon began performing with local brass bands while acquainting himself with classical theory. The trad jazz boom of the late Fifties led to him becoming the co-leader of a trad band in his native Newport, after which he started playing bop in a Cardiff jazz club. As a result of this, he joined the New Welsh Jazz Orchestra in 1966. Around that time he also had a sextet with baritone sax player John Williams.
Having become a regular student at the annual Barry Summer School, he met bandleader Graham Collier while at the school in the summer of 1967, and was asked to join his 12-piece group. One year later, he also became a member of Collier's sextet, playing on his second album «Down Another Road» (1969). While spending more and more time gigging in London, he kept studying in Cardiff, and finally got his BSC degree in July 1969.
Meanwhile, at the 1968 Barry school he had met Keith Tippett, and fellow students Elton Dean and Mark Charig. The four musicians formed the core of the Keith Tippett Sextet, and were to be reunited in many of Tippett and Dean's groups and ensembles over the years. The group, with various rhythm sections, gigged regularly until the autumn of 1970, when it was absorbed into the larger-scale Centipede, recording two acclaimed albums - «You Are Here... I Am There» and «Dedicated To You, But You Weren't Listening», both released in 1970.
The sextet was revived on special occasions, such as a gig at the 100 Club in December 1976 (with the rhythm section Harry Miller and Louis Moholo), but Tippett, Dean, Charig and Evans all took part in the expanded Just Us, which evolved into Elton Dean's Ninesense, and Keith Tippett's Ark.
The splendid brass section of Dean, Charig and Evans was also involved in the experimental septet line-up of Soft Machine, which existed for a few brief weeks between October and December 1969. Only Elton Dean remained in the group subsequently, but Evans guested on both «Third» and «Fourth» (Charig was also featured on the latter), and also played on Hugh Hopper's solo album «1984» in 1972.
In 1970, Evans joined South African pianist Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, which was his main musical activity during the first half of the decade. He was featured on the ensemble's first three albums (and came back for «Yes Please» in 1981), then (following a brief and unproductive attempt to settle in Belgium) was a mainstay of most of the big bands on the London jazz scene : Elton Dean's Ninesense (recording in 1976/77), Joe Gallivan's Intercontinental Express (1976), Dudu Pukwana's Diamond Express (1977), Keith Tippett's Ark (recording in 1978) and Louis Moholo's Spirits Rejoice (1978).
Evans also worked as a leader or co-leader, making his debut in that capacity on the Nicra album with Radu Malfatti, in 1977. In the Eighties, he formed Dreamtime with trumpet player Jim Dvorak. They made the album «Bunny Up», in addition to frequent gigging. However, by the end of the decade, Evans gradually became less involved in music, and chose to favour his career as maths teacher, begun in 1972. Nowadays, he still gigs occasionally, and Dreamtime even managed to make a second album in 1998.