Evan Coleman has been a part of the Chicago music scene for over 20 years. He has worked with many of Chicago’s well-known bands and artists, performing at nearly every major venue. His ability to manage musicians and events while focusing on performing, and producing is his forte. Wearing many hats is key to success if you work in such a diverse music city as Chicago, and Coleman can do it all.
In 1986 after several years of symphonic, jazz, and marching band, Evan received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. While on winter break his freshman year he had the opportunity to play new years eve with The Temptations backing band. After 3 years in Boston he returned to Chicago to complete his Bachelor's degree at Columbia College.
Before the end of his senior year he landed the coveted job of ‘performance bartender’ at the famous Big Bar in the Hyatt Regency, where each night not only did the bartenders serve drinks, they performed live standing on the back bar.
In 1993 Evan joined forces with LeRoy Bach (Liz Phair/Iron & Wine) to take the indie funk group Uptighty to their highest levels of success. While they were more of a funky/hippy/disco caravan rather than a ‘band’ Coleman and Bach were able to get them into some of Chicago’s most important venues, and to tour for over 5 years from coast to coast. Highlights included opening for Maceo Parker for two nights at the famous Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. Through the years they opened for and shared the stage with these amazing groups: Coolio, Smashing Pumpkins, The Last Poets, Marvin Tate’s D-Settlement, Liquid Soul, Poi Dog Pondering, Red Red Meat, Tortoise, 5 Style, and The Maul Girls, to name a few. They headlined The Metro, The Vic, Cubby Bear, Hot House, Double Door, Schubas, and countless private parties and events. As a part of Wicker Parks burgeoning music scene in the mid 90’s, Uptighty held their own amongst giants, a time to be treasured.
After the touring ended Evan turned his focus to IT, music technology, and becoming a DJ. Between the ebb and flow of the technology sector, Evan pursued a career as an IT technician. This allowed him to invest in new music technology, and to dig deeper into Chicago’s music scene. As the popularity of ‘the DJ’ rose Evan found himself at home at the local pub. Here he honed his skills at reading the crowd and mixing techniques. Some say the ‘bar DJ’ gigs are the hardest as moods and patrons come and go throughout the night requiring the ability to mix several genres while staying on top of current trends. During this time Bose introduced their first portable PA system. Evan had always wanted a better solution for noisy stages as his sax or flute was easily overpowered by guitars and drums. While working with the equipment Evan encountered an issue with the system volume having random sound surges. He documented it for a few days and submitted it to Bose. The developers graciously accepted his findings and shortly after resolved the issue. Evan's effort was helpful in fixing every system that had been sold to that date. Along with several other very capable and supportive users, Bose created the first Product Assistant position. He worked with them for almost 10 years selling systems to The Art Institute, Purdue University’s Music Department, and several schools, churches, bands, and musicians.
With nanotechnology working its way into every aspect of music Evan discovered his love for combining the two fields and began studying music production online via Berklee Online. His dream of being a producer was finally in sight. After years of managing stock trading servers, and managing clients across the country he came across the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Ableton Live. Though in its infancy it was becoming a very powerful tool for DJs and producers. While most opted for the standard A to B DJ style, Evan wanted to break the songs down to their individual parts, and play them however he wanted. Early iterations of this technology were developed by one of his musical heroes Thomas Dolby. Now with the ability to write and produce in his own home studio he finally had the best of both worlds.
As life moved on Evan became the father of two sons, and has been married for 20 years. While the Chicago music scene will never be the same as it was in the mid 90’s he has stayed connected to its core of amazing DJs, musicians, and proprietors. From the early 2000s to today he’s continued to work alongside world-class producers, DJs, and artists from every genre. Notable DJs he’s performed with are Jesse De La Pena with their own group Trio De La Pena. He, along with DJ/Bassist Shon Dervis formed Spheres of Influence and saw success performing for many private events from the opening of the Giorgio Armani store to Absolut Vodka’s 25 Anniversary Party where Evan served as Co-Musical Director.
In the last 10 years, Evan has written and produced albums for his own Evan Coleman Group, and Zombies in the Basement. Evan’s love for jazz became a thank-you letter to his parents in the form of the album The Hard Way Out. Working along famed indie producer Brian Deck(Modest Mouse) he created a dedication to his mother and father.
In 2015/16 Evan held a 24-week residency at Travelle Lounge in The Langham hotel where he pulled all of his skills together as a DJ, producer, and musician. At Travelle he not only DJ’d but was also able to showcase some of his own music alongside some of Chicago’s top jazz guitarists.
Currently, Evan is the Production Coordinator at the famous East Bank Club in Chicago. In the three short years of his employment, he has made a major impact on the club and its members. His first big project at EBC was to develop the technology for the newly built cycling studio. He worked directly with Sound Investment Audio company to merge IT and A/V technology. The cycling studio, Showtime, cost over $2 million dollars and features a 23’x13’ HD video wall, a concert venue sound system, and 70 bikes.
Shortly after COVID hit Chicago, Evan's focus at EBC turned to live streaming group fitness classes through their website. He developed their Livestream platform using Vimeo and Studio 6 broadcast software, and they currently have over 300 live classes and over 4,000 views per month. This platform allowed the club to offer a virtual membership that currently generates over $70k in dues per month. In December 2020, Evan was named “EBC’s Best” (employee of the month).
Evan is a dedicated, easy-going, hard-working musician that is proud to call Chicago home.