Bill Evans, The Pianist as an Artist


Sign in to view read count
The Pianist as an Artist
Enrico Pieranunzi
Continuum Books
ISBN: 0826457967

Many professional musicians possess a great talent, but only a few achieve a level of true greatness. The legendary pianist, Bill Evans definitely fits into this second category. Evans left an indelible mark on the history of jazz. Even now, twenty-two years after his death, his recordings still influence musicians around the world. Unfortunately, his talent was counterbalanced by a dark side, which manifested itself in self-destruction. Throughout his life, he was tortured by self-doubt and loneliness. To combat his inner-struggle, Evans became dependent on drugs.

With Bill Evans, The Pianist as an Artist, Enrico Pieranunzi provides a compelling look at this influential musician. Pieranunzi, a talented pianist himself, provides an insightful glance into the life of Bill Evans. More than simply providing biographical data, though, he shows how Evans became an such important figure in contemporary jazz. The Pianist as an Artist also discusses the drugs and psychological problems, but doesn't dwell on them. Rather than sensationalizing Evans' problems, Pieranunzi praises his musical accomplishments.

Anyone with even a moderate interest in jazz knows that Evans played on Miles Davis' landmark album, Kind of Blue. Of course his career and subsequent influence went far beyond this album alone. The Pianist as an Artist provides an in-depth study of Evans' career, which easily appeals to anyone from an average listener to a seasoned academic. Here Pieranunzi proves that he is equally adept at writing as playing.

Pieranunzi obviously covers some of Evans' most important work, including his trio recordings with bassist Scott LeFaro and Drummer Paul Motian. This trio would prove to be a major period in Evans' career. The interplay among these musicians allowed Evans to explore new musical territory. The Pianist as an Artist also shows that in spite of his quiet and intellectual demeanor, Evans definitely knew how to swing.

Evans possessed a unique talent, which deserves consideration. During a period when jazz was frequently becoming more abstract, Evans offered a structural counterbalance. His background in classical music allowed him to explore the depth of traditional jazz music. He believed that "freedom in music only makes sense when there is a solid foundation; otherwise you get lost in arbitrary disorder and reduce the aesthetic of the piece."

Accompanying the text, The Pianist as an Artist also contains a companion CD. Here Pieranunzi does more than present a musical tribute to Evans; this CD enhances the text, allowing a new dimension of understanding. Pieranunzi's skill as a musician proves to be a valuable asset in understanding Evans' place in jazz history.


More Articles

Read The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good Book Reviews The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good
by Doug Collette
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965 Book Reviews The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge Book Reviews Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2017
Read Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie Book Reviews Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Why Jazz? A Concise Guide" Book Reviews Why Jazz? A Concise Guide
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Whisper Not: The Autobiography Of Benny Golson" Book Reviews Whisper Not: The Autobiography Of Benny Golson
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight" Book Reviews Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight
by Chuck Koton
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Bowie: Photographs by Steve Schapiro" Book Reviews Bowie: Photographs by Steve Schapiro
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!