MORE RELEASES FROM BILL EVANS
This collection of some of his most celebrated recorded performances defines the depth of expression and height of exhilaration Evans achieved as… More
Bill Evans’s poetic piano spoke directly from his soul to the hearts of listeners around the world. Nobody played a ballad more exquisitely… More
During the 7 year span at Riverside, Bill Evans only twice recorded outside his customary trio format: in 1962, when he went into the studio in… More
Remastered in 24-bit from the original master tapes. Part of our Keepnews Collection, which spotlights classic albums originally produced by the… More
Chris Albertson says in the liner notes: “In 1956, when guitarist Mundell Lowe recommended Bill Evans to Riverside , neither had yet… More
This is it! The breakthrough. The pinnacle of spontaneous musical communication. Three men breathing as one on a tiny bandstand. … More
At the time this album was recorded in 1956, Bill Evans was a pianist known only to a few insiders and those fans who had heard him featured with… More
with Michael Moore, Philly Joe Jones Recorded live by Mike Harris January 15, 1978. (All selections previously… More
ABOUT BILL EVANS
Few musicians seemed less likely to make an impact on the New York jazz scene in the late Fifties than Bill Evans(1929-80), whose introspective solos and delicate touch were far removed from what was commonly considered "hard bop." Yet Evans was indeed heard, and quickly became one of the most influential musicians on any instrument of the last 40 years.
Evans was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and attended Southeastern Louisiana University. After a period in the Army, he returned to New York in 1955 and began working and recording with Tony Scott and George Russell. His subtly swinging, lucidly constructed solos with these leaders quickly attracted attention, and provided Evans with an opportunity to begin recording under his own name; but he was modest regarding his gifts, and for a time was reluctant to push himself into the limelight. All this changed after he spent several months during 1958 in Miles Davis's band, where he played alongside John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley as well as the trumpeter and became a central figure in Davis's shift to modal improvisation.
The period with Davis allowed Evans to organize his own trio, which featured bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian by the end of 1959. These three players developed a new and more interactive approach to trio playing, one in which all instruments carried melodic responsibilities and functioned as equal voices. LaFaro's tragic death in a July 1961 highway accident ended the existence of this seminal unit; but not before it had recorded four albums, two in the studio and two at a Village Vanguard performance shortly before the bassist's death, that influenced several generations of pianists, bassists, and drummers.
While Evans excelled in even more intimate playing situations—he made memorable duet music with guitarist Jim Hall, singer Tony Bennett, and bassist Eddie Gomez, and on more than one occasion created fascinating studio recitals of multi-tracked piano—for the remaining two decades of his life, he continued to work in the trio format he had established with LaFaro and Motian. Personnel rarely changed in the Evans trio (Gomez was a member from 1966-1977), and the unit's repertoire slowly grew to include evocative new originals and worthy standards, as well as the tunes that led to Evans's initial fame. Despite this consistency of format and material, Evans remained uncommonly inspired, able to reach stunning emotional depths with a quiet lucidity that was unmatched. His lyrical melodic inventions, intricate phrasing, complex voicings, and beautiful touch remain as unmistakable influences on pianists 25 years after his death.