| || New Jazz Conceptions (Riverside, 1956) |
Evans' debut is a largely mainstream bop effort in the Powell tradition without much of a distinctive voice. His first recording of "Waltz For Debby" and his treatments of "Displacement," where few notes fall on the beat, and "Five," featuring a frenetic quintuplet-based beat in 4/4 time, hint at future developments.
| || Everybody Digs Bill Evans (Riverside, 1958) |
A clear step toward the more relaxed and meditative style for which Evans is famous, featuring the moving ballad "Young and Foolish" and the famous melodic improvisational experiment "Peace Piece."
| || Portrait In Jazz (Riverside, 1959) |
Evans' peak period begins with the first album to feature his famed trio with LaFaro and Motian Their fast-paced interplay on "Someday My Prince Will Come" and interpretations on two versions of "Blue In Green" sparkle among many highlights.
| || Explorations (Riverside, 1961) |
In the elite category, but with some tension between players during the session. LaFaro had to play a replacement bass since his regular one was being repaired, so his playing is a bit restrained.
| || Sunday At The Village Vanguard (Riverside, 1961) |
Waltz For Debby (Riverside, 1961)
The pianist's definitive albums are masterpieces of phrasing in melody and solos, and a revelation of how members of a trio can interact with and shape a song. LaFaro in particular captivates with his basslines on the Sunday album, making his death ten days later all the more tragic.
| || Conversations With Myself (Verve, 1963) |
Evans predictably got widely varying reviews for this album where he triple-tracks himself on piano, but won his first Grammy for the results. Similar to his double-tracked Further Conversations With Myself (1967), which some say is more disciplined and harmonically focused.
| || At The Montreux Jazz Festival (Verve, 1968) |
Evans won his second Grammy for this trio album, as Gomez and drumming legend Jack DeJohnette play with an energy that lures Evans into playing freer than usual.
| || Alone (Verve, 1969) |
Evans' first solo album won a Grammy, but also received heavy criticism from some who called it a rambling effort needing the discipline of sidemen.
| || Intuition (Fantasy, 1974) |
Those wanting to hear Evans on electric keyboard might find this their best betor at least a safe oneas he alternates between electric and acoustic on this duo collaboration with Gomez. The interaction is superb and most of the songs are new compositions.
| || The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans album (Fantasy, 1975) |
An unlikely but successful collaboration, with Evans largely playing a supportive role as Bennett delivers emotionally sincere efforts on songs like "The Days Of Wine And Roses," "Young And Foolish" and "Waltz For Debby."
| || You Must Believe In Spring (Warner Bros., 1977) |
Evans' debut for Warner Brothers does a better job than many 1970s albums of capturing his brooding and melodic strengths, with a surprisingly diverse feeling for an album of ballads.
| || Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz (1978) |
One of the best in McPartland's long-running radio series. Features a number of solo and duet pieces plus Evans discussing and demonstrating his technique in-depth.
| || The Complete Riverside Recordings |
This 12-disc boxed set covers Evans' development and peak career period from 1956 to 1963, including his landmark Village Vanguard dates.