Jazz

Definitively Fills The Bill

06 MAY 11 CHRIS SLAWECKI

The influence of Bill Evans' graceful and ascetic piano touch on other musicians is so foundational -- obvious on pianists such as Vince Guaraldi, to be sure; less obvious but no less important on vibraphonist Gary Burton and other instrumentalists -- that you almost don't hear it. And so you almost don't know which pianistic gem on The Definitive Bill Evans On Riverside & Fantasy, newly installed in Concord's Definitive series, to treasure first.

Is it "Young & Foolish" from his timeless duet The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album (Fantasy, '75)?  Or one of several representative tracks from the pianist's trio with drummer Paul Motian and bassist Scott LaFaro -- legendary for its compelling sympathetic and improvisatory musicianship -- such as the title track to Waltz For Debby, or the achingly beautiful "My Foolish Heart," upon which pensive Evans so beautifully moves in slow motion?

Is it "Know What I Mean?" which Evans wrote and played for a Cannonball Adderley quartet date, or "Time Remembered" with soloists Stan Getz and Jim Hall, whose disciplined yet tender guitar approach perfectly reflects and complements Evans'? Or perhaps it's one of his unaccompanied, untamable solo reflections, such as "The Touch Of Your Lips," his harmonic and rhythmic reflections of Satie in "Peace Piece," or the stylistic tour-de-force of his "Spartacus/Nardis" medley...

The Definitive Bill Evans On Riverside & Fantasy represents all of Evans' best and brightest. The truth is that you won't go wrong with any, or all, of these.