The two LP editions recorded at this Paris concert were the last examples of Bill Evans' playing to be released at the time. With bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe La Barbera, Evans had one of the strongest trios of his career, as can be heard on such pieces as Edition One's "My Romance," "I Loves You, Porgy," and "Beautiful Love." The close communication between the players is reminiscent of Evans' 1961 unit with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian.
This release presents, in chronological order, all surviving complete performances from the legendary 1961 Village Vanguard sets by the Bill Evans Trio. Two classic albums were culled from these sets: Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Riverside RLP976) and Waltz for Debby (Riverside RLP999). It would be the last recording by this formation of the group, with Scott LaFaro on bass, and Paul Motian on drums, as LaFaro died ten days later in a car crash, on July 6, 1961, at the age of 25. Evans, who loved LaFaro’s playing, would take a long hiatus before forming a new trio.
I had assumed that these recordings fit into the category of “he plays well under the circumstances.” Forget the qualifiers. Listening to this set and the previously released The Last Waltz is a bit like sharing the experience of the wild-eyed poet who has returned from feasting on the milk of paradise in Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan.” After tasting such nectar, nothing henceforward can satisfy the palette. So if the two sets (16 discs) comprising Evans’ last stand seem extravagant in quantity and price, consider the possibility that they represent the musical equivalent of Keats’ Grecian Urn, offering “all ye know and need to know.”
Reissue with latest 2014 remastering. Comes with liner notes. This rare set features the cool-toned clarinetist Tony Scott with a big band on five numbers, heading a ten-piece band for three others and jamming with a quartet that also features the young pianist Bill Evans on the four remaining songs. The songs range from swing standards and the tongue-in-cheek "Rock Me But Don't Roll Me" to "Aeolian Drinking Song" and an original titled "Vanilla Frosting On A Beef Pie." Musically, the performances are pretty modern for the period while never failing to swing. This LP is well worth searching for, as are most of Tony Scott's recordings of the 1950s.
A magnificent follow up to the Undercurrent album from the team of Bill Evans and Jim Hall – and like that one, a set that features amazing interplay between piano and guitar! Hall's guitar has never sounded better – and in the airy company of Evans, it takes on many of the same qualities as on his famous late 50s recordings in the Jimmy Guiffre trio. Bill's work is great too – almost more tonally focused than before, with perfectly chosen notes that resonate beautifully in this very spare space. Titles include "Jazz Samba", "All Across The City", "Angel Face", and "Turn Out The Stars".
Conventional wisdom, which in this case may be right, holds that Bill Evans' storied career peaked on June 25, 1961, a date that yielded two live records, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby, the final two documents of Evans' first, and best, trio, with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. In the two years he'd been playing with Evans, LaFaro had opened up new possibilities for the jazz bass, playing with a harmonically oblique, melodically flexible style that was, at the time, unprecedented. Ten days after this record was made he died, just 25 years old.
On June 25th, 1961, Bill Evans and his trio made jazz history over the course of five sets at the Village Vanguard. Selections from those performances were released on two full-length LPs, WALTZ FOR DEBBY and Sunday AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD, both of which went on to become landmark jazz albums from the era. The three-disc COMPLETE VILLAGE VANGUARD RECORDINGS provides a valuable service by presenting all five sets in their complete and original sequence, with crisp remastered sound, a previously unissued take (Scott LaFaro's "Gloria's Step"), and snippets of on-stage patter.
This magnificent 12-CD set contains all of Bill Evans' Riverside recordings as a leader, an extremely important period in the influential pianist's development. The first session predates Evans' period with the Miles Davis Sextet and other significant sessions include his sets with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian (highlighted by the marathon Village Vanguard session of June 25, 1961), Evans' return nearly a year after LaFaro's death in a car accident with a new trio (consisting of Motian and bassist Chuck Israels), a sideman set with altoist Cannonball Adderley, the Interplay sessions with either trumpeter Freddie Hubbard or tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims, an extensive and rather somber solo set, and a 1963 appearance at Shelly's Manne Hole with bassist Israels and drummer Larry Bunker.
Bill Evans' Fantasy recordings of 1973-1979 have often been underrated in favor of his earlier work but, as this remarkable nine-CD set continually shows, the influential pianist continued to grow as a musician through the years while holding on to his original conception and distinctive sound. The collection has all of the 98 selections recorded at Evans' 11 Fantasy sessions, including nine numbers from a previously unreleased 1976 concert with his trio. In addition, Evans' appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio program is tacked on as a bonus and it is actually among McPartland's finest shows, a fascinating hour of discussion and music with Evans.