Biography

Check out the latest awards ceremony for independent music and you'll likely find Reverend Zen named among the nominees or winners. Since the release of their debut cd the rock, blues, jazz group has continuously garnered critical acclaim, receiving 70 music industry awards from around the world. John Schoenberger of Billboard's Radio and Records in Los Angeles reflects on the band's success stating, "Reverend Zen's Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon is simply a very good record."

Winning 2007/08 Song of the Year from ABC Radio Networks Fame Games Effigy Awards in Costa del Sol, Spain for "The Boston Shakedown", along with five Finalist Awards, is just a start. Those were followed by a 2008/09 Effigy Awards Artist of the Year Nomination and seven Finalist Awards. Finally, the band was honored as Artist of the Year Nominees, Song of the Year Nominees for "Boy Genius", along with nine Finalist Awards by 2009/10's Effigy Awards. 2007 saw Reverend Zen receive four Best Song Nominations from Hollywood's Los Angeles Music Awards for "The Boston Shakedown", "Bad Attitude", "Don't Try to Tell Me" and "Dangerous Times". The genre stretching band was subsequently named L.A. Music Award's 2007 Artist of the Year, with "Bad Attitude" named 2007 Song of the Year. More kudos followed as "Her Love" and "Bad Attitude" received Best Song Nominations from 2008's L.A. Music Awards and 2008's Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards respectively. The group concluded the year named recipients of 2008's Golden Wave Artist of the Year Award in Denver.

More European accolades followed as Reverend Zen's "Dangerous Times" received a 2008 Finalist nod from France's 100% Song Contest in Paris. In London the group took home five Runners' Up Awards from 2008's BBC sponsored UK Song Contest. Around the world in Sydney the band was a Finalist Nominee in both the 2008 and 2009 Australia Song Contest for "Bad Attitude" and "Her Love". Meanwhile, back in the United States the group's "Bad Attitude", "Magdalena", "My Sigmund Freud" and "Boy Genius" all received Finalist Awards from the 2007/08 and 2008/09 Unisong International Song Contest in Los Angeles. Along the way there were multiple awards from 2006's Billboard World Song Contest in New York, 2006's Mid Atlantic Song Contest in Washington, D.C. and 2007's Singer-Songwriter Awards in London. Add to those WCH Radio's 2007 Artist of the Year Award in St. Louis and RGW Radio's 2006 Bronze Artist Award in Norfolk, U.K., but the list is still incomplete.

From 2008-2012 Reverend Zen bandleader-composer Jack Evans was the recipient of five prestigious ASCAP Plus Awards - Jazz & Popular Music Division in New York. Preceding those honors, the group received five Runners Up Awards in 2006's VH1 Song of the Year Contest in Houston, as "Dangerous Times" was named a 2006-VH1 Finalist. The VH1 panel remarked, "Listening to these songs you're drawn in by their unique, vivid mirrors of human nature and emotion. Their lyrics and arrangements have the power to make you remember both the songs and their performances. This music has stand out guitar that's perfectly executed and first rate production. Above all this music is straight from the heart."

For Reverend Zen such substance and precision were honed over time, with the band writing and recording Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon over a ten-year period. You'll hear this dedication and attention to detail in each exacting lyric and every well-executed chord change. "Great songwriting, lyrics and arrangements from Reverend Zen." Comments Paul Olund of MSNBC.com's Independent Study - Artists You Need to Know. These are always timeless qualities in music and Reverend Zen not only reminds us of Steely Dan's cleverness and the grit of the blues, but they also touch upon the introspection of the singer-songwriters. These traits and more are evident on the group's slamming shuffle "The Boston Shakedown", with its tale of lust, debauchery and a college education, and in the dark beauty of love lost on "Don't Try to Tell Me" and "The One in Love".

Reverend Zen's musical credentials are beyond question. The group's musicians have a history of playing with the music greats, ranging from John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Donald Fagen, John Scofield and Annie Lennox to B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Sting. The band's sound pays tribute to these influences, but also pushes musical boundaries mixing the funk laden wit of "Bad Attitude" and "Boy Genius", with the classic rock sound of "Magdalena" and its angelic tale of love found.

"Our influences span several genres." States Mr. Evans. "Miles Davis, James Brown, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Wayne Shorter and Claude Debussy is among our favorites. All of them inspire us with their spirit, eloquence and craft. They just seem to express themselves with conviction and humanity.". Strands of Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Debussy can be heard flowing through Reverend Zen's impressionistic ballad of love in question, "Only a Fool" with the New York group again bridging musical idioms.

Such rich musical backgrounds coupled with their distinctive writing has helped Reverend Zen quickly gain a reputation for thought-provoking lyrics and no holds barred rhythms. Those qualities and more are evident on the rocking "My Sigmund Freud", their National Inquirer like adventures of an amusing psychotic and his psychiatrist, on "Her Love" their haunting portrait of a woman's emotional damage and on "Dangerous Times" their analogy of the Wild West to current events in America and the world. It's music for the thinking man's head indeed.

Not only the music industry, but listeners around the world are discovering Reverend Zen with the band receiving air play and coverage in North and South America, the Middle East, Australia, Japan and Europe. Paul Sedowski, CEO of Meer Music International's Fame Games show, broadcast on Spain's Onda Cero Radio Network to audiences in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, and in the United States on the ABC Radio Network remarks, "Reverend Zen has gone and rocked our station totally and put big smiles on our faces. They sound like a killer band that's tight, full of energy and swing, highly accomplished and credible."

Global platitudes aside Reverend Zen's true genius lies in its music with lyrics of wit, introspection and cultural commentary, melodies that live on in your memory like old friends, dead on drum tracks, bad ass guitar solos and subtleties that slowly reveal themselves. Ten years in the making, Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon was worth the wait and is now taking Reverend Zen to the world stage.



REVEREND ZEN - The Songs of Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon

"Magdalena" (Unisong Finalist - Lyrics, VH1 Runner Up - AC/AAA & Lyrics, Billboard Award)and it's classic rock sound opens Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon with sweeping keyboards and a majestic chorus. It's the story of a loner's encounter with an angel. "The song was written as a folk tale of sorts about truth, trust and dreams." remarks singer/lyricist Jack Evans. James Gerard adds organ and synths. Chris Carter and Gil Parris are on guitar. "I was sleeping on a cloud/ When an angel awakened me/ With the warm gentle voice/ Of a heavenly breeze/ She said, I'm Magdalena/ I've come to speak with you/ And whatever words are spoken/ We shall always speak the truth".

"Bad Attitude" (Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards Best Song Nominee - International AC, ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy Awards Finalist, Australia Song Contest Finalist Nominee - LA Music Awards Song of the Year - Blues, Unisong Finalist - Blues, UK Song Contest Semi Finalist, Billboard, VH1, UK's Singer-Songwriter Awards, France's 100% Song Contest Award) is funky R&B, rock. It's a he said, she said take on a cynic's bad luck and his lover's claim that all he suffers from is a bad attitude. Black cats, aerodynamics and a twelve ton truck all get involved. "It's some classic "downer" sentiment with a few twists.", relates Evans. The hot wired guitar solo is by Chris Carter who's been called one of the premier R&B guitarists in NYC by renowned studio great Hugh McCracken. "Throw me a line my boat sprung a leak/ I clutch my flask for a final drink/ A smiling shark is circling the bow/ With a little luck I'll probably drown".

"Don't Try To Tell Me" (ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy Awards Finalist - 2007 LA Music Awards Best Song Nominee - AC/AAA, VH1 Runner Up - AC/AAA, Billboard Award - UK Song Contest Semi Finalist) is a solemn ballad dramatizing the final encounter between two lovers. Denial, regret and loss are all reflected. The lyrical, blues inflected guitar solo is by Gil Parris (the Gil Parris Band, Dr. John, Bob James, David Sanborn). The piano and keyboard orchestration is by Evans' co writer on the ten songs of Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon, James Gerard. "Don't try to tell me it was all a mistake/ Don't try to tell me that/ Don't try to tell me sometimes love can fade/ Like we've just become two passing strangers without names".

"The Boston Shakedown" (France's 100% Song Contest Award - Song of the Year Effigy Awards Spain - Blues/Rock, LA Music Awards Best Song Nominee - AC/AAA, VH1 Runner Up - AC/AAA & Lyrics, Billboard, Mid-Atlantic/SAW, Unisong Contest, France's 100% Song Contest, UK Song Contest Awards) is a slamming, roguish tale of higher education with a party girl who loves underclassmen but always leaves them. There's props to Marvin Gaye, the Red Sox and Stolichnaya. "Just a bit of reminiscing about college days and Boston.", smiles Evans. The bad ass guitar solo is by Nick Moroch (David Sanborn, Chaka Khan, Donald Fagen). Rob Aries (John Scofield, Freddy Jackson, Donald Harrison) is on keyboards. The bass duties are handled by Kip Sophos (Nile Rodgers, Chuck Loeb, David Mann) with Evans on vocals and drums. "She's havin' another party upstairs/ They're squealin' and laughin' in the August heat/ With her trunk full of toys and contraband/ That young fool don't stand a chance".

"Only A Fool" (VH1 Award) is a bittersweet ballad. "A friend was caught up in a relationship that was very yin, yang. They were being held hostage by their own emotions.", explains Evans. The song highlights Rob Aries on piano and Gil Parris on electric and acoustic guitar. Evans provides the impressionistic keyboard orchestration. The background vocals are by Margaret Dorn (Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Bette Midler) and Vaneese Thomas (Eric Clapton, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Pearl Jam, John Scofield, John Mayer). "Didn't my love try to chase the demons from your heart/ Still the wounds of your past are tearing us apart".

"My Sigmund Freud" (ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy Awards Finalist - Unisong Finalist: Novelty) rocks and rises up with no holds barred rhythms and a unique look at our modern society. It's the over the top adventures of an amusing psychotic and the doctor he considers his savior. A UFO, the Bronx Zoo and Joseph Cornell materialize along the way. If Dr. Phil, Woody Allen and Frank Zappa had started a rock band it might sound like this. "The first three lines of the chorus are lifted from an ad in the New York Post,", reveals Evans. "The rest of the lyrics probably read like the National Enquirer." Chris Carter returns on guitar, James Gerard covers the keyboard tracks. "Palpitations, shortness of breath/ A racing heart, a fear of death/ Delusions of grandeur, loss of control/ Last week I dreamed I was Axl Rose/ But my doctor cures my ills/ With understanding and his happy pills/ He's fillin' up my emotional void / He's my savior, he's my Sigmund Freud".

"Her Love" (ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy Awards Finalist - LA Music Awards Best Song Nominee - AAA, Billboard, VH1, UK's Singer-Songwriter Awards, UK Song Contest Award - UK Song Contest, Australia Song Contest Semi Finalist Awards) tells us of a woman unable to confront her demons, who sadly uses her beauty and charm as power and control in this revealing character study. "This one came together very quickly," says Evans. James had sketched out a lot of the music, then I went home and wrote the lyrics the next day." Gil Parris, called the brightest star of jazz/blues guitar since Larry Carlton by Guitar One Magazine, delivers a soaring, emotional solo against the back drop of James Gerard's keyboards. "She listens to his words and lets him feel she understands/ Her replies are chosen so she can gain the upper hand/ She coolly plays the temptress as he gives himself away/ She chooses her men cautiously, only the ones she finds easy to leave".

"Dangerous Times" (ABC Radio's Effigy Awards Finalist - France's 100% Song Contest Finalist - 2007 LA Music Awards Best Song Nominee - AC/AAA, France's 100% Song Contest Finalist - Performance, VH1 Finalist - AC/AAA, UK's Singer-Songwriter Awards, Billboard, Unisong, UK Song Contest Awards) with it's upbeat sound is actually RZ's thought provoking, dark analogy of the old Wild West to current events in America and the world. Is this 1870's Deadwood or New York in the year 2000? "It seems incomprehensible to me how much misguided machismo and violence still exist in what's called modern civilization.", states Evans. James Gerard is again on keyboards while Chris Carter returns on guitar. The background vocals here are by Sheryl Marshall (John Medeski, Buster Poindexter, Ru Paul, NYC's Uptown Horns) and Soozie Tyrell (Bruce Springsteen, Sheryll Crow, Shawn Colvin, Elvis Costello). "There's a line of mourners and a mother's tears/ Nothin's changed around here for a hundred years".

"Boy Genius" (ABC Radio's Effigy Awards Finalist & Best Song Nominee: Blues/Rock - ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy Awards Finalist - Unisong Finalist: Blues) gives us the incredulous tales of a child prodigy. Balzac, Shakespeare and Camus are all on his required reading list. Evans explains, "The words and drum part came first. The lyrics were partly inspired by an old Jodie Foster movie called "Little Man Tate". Ideas for the groove came from a Miles Davis song called Splatch on his Tutu album." The song slams and rocks with a hip hop bounce and a scorching guitar solo by Chris Carter (the Chris Carter Band, Art Neville, Taj Mahal, Solomon Burke, NYC's Uptown Horns, Joan Osborne). The keyboards are by Rob Aries and Evans. "By the age of five he'd quote Socrates/ And play in his room with a laser beam/ Baptized the kid with a metaphysical mind/ He's next in line for the Nobel Prize".

"The One In Love" (ABC Radio's Fame Games Effigy Awards Finalist - Billboard, VH1 Awards - UK Song Contest) is a beautifully dark, mid tempo ballad that closes Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon. It's an account of abandonment, unresolved longing and efforts to transcend it all at a jazz club called the Crying Moon. James Gerard delivers the richly textured keyboard orchestration. Philly session bassist Kjell Benner (Patti La Belle, Arlen Roth) and drummer Rudy Feinauer (the Syndicate of Soul, George Russell, Jimmy Guiffre) round out the rhythm section. "From the stage I face a crowded room/ In a club they call the Crying Moon/ As love struck couples dance the floor/ The lonely read matchbooks looking bored".



Contact Details:
Reverend Zen Music: 111 Katonah Ave, Katonah, NY 10536 (914)232-8946
email: revjackzen@optonline.net
website: www.reverendzenmusic.com
Blakjak Music Records & Anamosa Songs Publishing ASCAP: use above address
Reverend Zen epk at: sonicbids.com
MySpace - myspace.com/reverendzenmusic
Available at: cdbaby.com; iTunes; amazon.com