by Glen Daum
Fans of big band jazz will be in for a real treat when the 48th Street Big Band pays tribute to a true “musician’s musician” and living legend, the arranger Marion Evans, in a concert of his music and featuring his personal appearance in the Club Room at Local 802 on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m.
Marion Evans ranks high among the pantheon of New York arrangers who flourished in the 1950s and 60s. He arranged over 100 albums for artists including Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gormé, Perry Como and Doc Severinsen, and won Grammy nominations for his arrangements of the classic hits “Blame It On the Bossa Nova” (for Eydie Gormé) and “Go Away, Little Girl” (for Steve Lawrence), not to mention his more than 70 top-ten recordings. His activities as a composer of TV music include 17 different series and he has worked as orchestrator on 11 Broadway shows.
An Alabama native, Marion started his career writing for the Glenn Miller-Tex Beneke Orchestra in the late 1940s and wrote as well for Tommy Dorsey, Vaughn Monroe, Percy Faith and Count Basie. He had a longstanding professional partnership with the equally celebrated arranger Don Costa.
After withdrawing from the music business in 1970 to pursue a second career in finance, he has returned recently to arrange and orchestrate two Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated albums for Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – “Duets II” and “Cheek to Cheek” – and has enjoyed a continuing relationship with those artists.
A gregarious and lively raconteur, Marion Evans will regale the audience with many anecdotes about the colorful characters he has encountered and musical experiences he has enjoyed in his extensive career.
Featured on the Sept. 27 concert will be rarely-performed big band instrumental arrangements written by Evans in 1959 for a star-studded recording orchestra of New York’s finest musicians. Playing them now will be the 48th Street Big Band, filled with today’s finest New York musicians: top recording artists, members of Broadway orchestras and leading jazz groups. The band is co-directed by Roger Rhodes and me, and meets monthly at Local 802 to play music of the great arrangers, both past and present.
This concert is open to the public and benefits the Local 802 Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund, which supports musicians going through difficult times. All donations are tax deductible. Checks and credit cards will be accepted at the door, or donate anytime at www.local802erf.org.
Come out for an afternoon of great music played by a marvelous band, along with some lively stories from a musical giant.