Bill Evans was strictly known as a pianist, though he studied flute throughout college, yet he claimed to have "no chops on the instrument." His only previously known vocal was recorded on a lark at the conclusion of a Monica Zetterlund recording session for Philips, consisting of a playful, hip take of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," which was never intended for release, but it finally appeared in The Complete Verve Recordings of Bill Evans boxed set in 1997.
Since Evans' death in 1980, fans have scoured every corner of the earth seeking unreleased broadcasts and private recordings. They were rewarded with the discovery of this undated session in a Swedish club that was taped after most of the audience and his sidemen had departed after the last set. Evans was known for his wide-ranging musical interests, but he pulls all stops in this friendly, privately recorded gathering.
The pianist is full of surprises, singing "The Best Man" without trying to mimic Nat King Cole in his raspy voice. He adds a spontaneous lyric to boogie-woogie great Meade Lux Lewis' "Honky Tonk Train Blues" and has a blast tackling "Your Feet's Too Big," forever associated with Fats Waller. The audience eats up every minute of the eight vocal selections, encouraging him with laughter and applause throughout each song. April Dårar, a local singer, joins him in the playful duet of "Dear Old Stockholm," a hilarious duo scat treatment of Dizzy Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" and a tongue in cheek treatment of his timeless ballad "Waltz For Debby." He puts the humor aside to conclude with a stunning, though far too brief medley of "Blue In Green" and "Nardis."
The audio isn't of professional quality, but this previously unknown recording is clearly one for the ages.
How High The Moon; The Best Man; Honky Tonk Train Blues; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; Your
Feet’s Too Big; Dear Old Stockholm; Salt Peanuts; Waltz For Debby; Blue In Green/Nardis.
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