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REASSESSING

Bill Evans Trio: How My Heart Sings

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The Bill Evans TrioHow My Heart SingsOJC1962/2013 Pianist Bill Evans' 1962 Riverside recording How My Heart Sings concludes the first wave of re-issues celebrating the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. The previous releases include: alto saxophonist Julian Cannonball Adderley's 1959 Things Are Getting Better, guitarist Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar!, trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe (OJC/Riverside, 1959/2013) and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan's Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013). This series frames recordings released between 1957 and 1962, giving witness to the productivity and gravity of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Evans (saxophone): Dragonfly

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The music on saxophonist Bill Evans' Dragonfly plays like the sum total of his experiences distilled into a single disc. Evans has spent more than three decades playing with the cream of the crop, including jazz heavyweights like trumpeter Miles Davis and guitarist John McLaughlin, and smooth stars such as pianist Dave Grusin and guitarist Lee Ritenour, but he doesn't always pitch his tent in the jazz camp. He's also spent time playing with Mick Jagger, Warren Haynes, The Allman Brothers, Béla Fleck and Willie Nelson, and all of these experiences play a part in the stylistic diversity that's at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Evans: Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top of The Gate

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Why is pianist Bill Evans so important to jazz? it is simple: every pianist to hear and perform after him was influenced by him. Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson may have been technically more brilliant and extroverted, but it took first Bud Powell and then Evans to turn the creative tables toward the muted and introverted, thereby beginning a jazz piano cultural revolution that continues to this day. Evans had an almost painfully personal style that, like late-period Art Pepper, bared naked his troubled soul in exquisite detail.This never-before-released sides from Resonance Records, Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Evans: Live at Art D'Lugoff's Top of the Gate

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The two-CD Bill Evans Live at Art D'Lugoff's Top of The Gate--a never-before-released recording of the Bill Evans Trio made over 50 years ago--consists of two sets recorded by then-college student George Klabin in the New York City club, October, 1968. Until now, the music has only been heard on a Columbia University radio show; now, Klabin has taken the tape out of the closet and released it on Resonance Records, the label he heads. Crisp and clear, the sound has weathered the years.The lineup that night consisted of three musicians in their prime: Evans, bassist Eddie Gomez ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Evans: Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top of The Gate

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Legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans has been gone since 1980; nevertheless, his music continues to inspire new generations of young musicians and remains an integral part of jazz history. Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top of The Gate celebrates Evans' memory, capturing the great pianist and his trio performing in the upstairs room--and separate club, called The Top of The Gate--of The Village Gate night club in Greenwich Village, founded by Art D'Lugoff back in 1958. Never released until now, this piece of musical history was made possible because then-22 year-old engineer George Klabin was given permission to record the October ...

JAZZ IN THE AQUARIAN AGE

Breakfast with Bill Evans

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[Bill Evans was in a relaxed mood late in the morning on a cloudy spring day in 1979 for this interview. He was very happy with his most recent recording and excited about the new direction he was taking with his trio. In addition to sharing memories about his musical career from its earliest days, he reflected on his place in the history of jazz. He died not long afterwards, in September 1980.] Greeting me at the door of his apartment in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Bill Evans runs his fingers through his slightly disheveled hair and holds ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Bill Evans: The Sesjun Radio Shows

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Bill EvansThe Sesjun Radio ShowsOut Of The Blue/Naxos2011 (1973-79) Pianist Bill Evans (b. 1929, d. 1980) changed the way of the piano trio, beginning with a handful of brilliant studio recording for Riverside Records in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A pair of live recordings for the label, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby, both released in 1961, cemented his reputation as a genius and agent of change. Evan's pioneered a trio approach that favored more equality in instrumental input. In his late 1950s ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Turn Out the Lights: The Final Village Vanguard Recordings, June 1980

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Bill Evans Trio Turn Out the Stars: The Final Village Vanguard Recordings June 1980 Nonesuch Records 2009

The recent wave of celebrity deaths is a reminder that there's no greater loss the arts can suffer than losing someone in their creative prime. Pianist Bill Evans was 50 when he returned to New York's Village Vanguard for a series of dates in the summer of 1980 with his relatively new trio, and he was 51 when he passed away three months later. Evans would have turned 80 this year. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bill Evans Trio: Turn Out the Stars: The Final Village Vanguard Recordings June 1980

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The extent to which Bill Evans' studio and live recordings have been recorded, archived and released is a testament to the deserved reverence the late pianist has elicited. Originally available only in a limited run, Turn Out the Stars-The Final Village Vanguard Recordings June 1980 is further evidence of that devout respect.

Far more lavish (and sturdy despite the individual digipaks inside)) than the accompanying box, the essays written by Bob Blumenthal and Harold Danko are extensive in their detail and focused passion, as good a means of describing The Evans trio's own playing as there is. On “Re: The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Bennett / Bill Evans: The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings

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In the mid-1970s, when singer Tony Bennett got together with pianist Bill Evans to record The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album (Concord, 1975) and Together Again (Concord, 1976), Bennett was considered terminally uncool by most jazz fans under 30, and rock fans of any age. Despite a few earlier outings in jazz contexts, including an album recorded with Count Basie's orchestra, Basie Swings, Bennett Sings (Roulette, 1959) he was primarily regarded as an MOR or standards singer, defined in the public consciousness by his 1962 hit “I Left My Heart In San Francisco."

But the passage of time encourages ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bill Evans' Soulgrass at the Iridium

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Bill Evans' Soulgrass Special EditionSpecial Guest Sam BushThe IridiumNew York, New YorkApril 2, 2009“They're like the Flecktones," I said in response to an inquiry concerning what we were about to see, “only if the Flecktones were a perfect band." Hyperbole without a doubt but, as we would soon find out, not too far off the mark.I was referring to Bill Evans (no, not that Bill Evans) and his Soulgrass band, who were about to take the Iridium stage. Having listened to Evans' Soulgrass (BHM, 2005), this writer had an ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Jazz Icons: Bill Evans Live '64 - '75

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Bill Evans Jazz Icons Series 3: Bill Evans Live '64 - '75 Jazz Icons 2008

A dweeb with a bad haircut or junkie messiah? The most significant jazz pianist since Bud Powell or an over-rated ivory noodler? Bill Evans is a delicious musical enigma whose influence on the piano was as far reaching as Charlie Parker's on the alto saxophone. Evans' Jazz Icons release is singular among the seven Series 3 releases in that it spans over a decade in the middle of Evan's tragically short career.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Evans Trio: Everybody Digs Bill Evans

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This Keepnews Collection remaster/reissue of a 1958 recording is welcome if only as a reminder of Bill Evans' trio playing before the period of the celebrated Village Vanguard Sessions (Riverside, 1961). Instead of near-equal interaction by all three trio members, a supportive team of drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist Sam Jones provides a non- intrusive backdrop for the featured performer, whose inventions are cast into bolder relief than ever. The silent spaces in the ballads are stark, inviting the listener to supply the missing thought or feeling evoked by the pianist's pure conceptions; the accompaniment on the up-tempo tunes ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Bill Evans: The Oslo Concerts

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Bill Evans The Oslo Concerts Shanachie 2007

On this DVD, we see two distinctive phases of pianist Bill Evans' career - the first a 1966 concert played at the Oslo Munch Museum in 1966 with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Alex Riel, filmed in black and white, followed by his last filmed concert at the Molde Jazz Festival in 1980 with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe La Barbera. The first thing that comes to mind watching these two concerts is the difference in the approach. On the 1966 ...



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