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Evans / LaFaro / Motian: Complete Trio Recordings

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Evans / LaFaro / Motian: Complete Trio Recordings
Christmas is coming early for Bill Evans aficionados this April 2023 with the release of two box-sets. Hard on the heels of Elemental's 2-CD / 3-LP Treasures: Solo, Trio & Orchestra Recordings From Denmark 1965-1969 (reviewed here), comes this 5-CD Complete Trio Recordings set.

The aptly titled Treasures is essential listening, containing as it does 30 high-end previously unreleased tracks which were professionally recorded for radio broadcast. Complete Trio Recordings has value but is less than essential, because while it presents close on six hours of some of the most sublime jazz ever recorded, all the tracks are readily available elsewhere, alternate takes and tape breakdowns included.

Complete Trio Recordings' five discs include all known surviving material from the Evans, Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian trio's four Riverside albums—Portrait In Jazz (1960), Explorations (1961), Sunday At The Village Vanguard (1961) and Waltz For Debby (1962)—plus twelve tracks taped from radio broadcasts of the trio's gigs at Birdland during spring 1960.

The collection's value is not that it plugs any gaps in the trio's legacy. Its usefulness is more prosaic: here, in one handy package, is the group's complete paradigm-shifting recorded oeuvre, the chronicle of the two-year arc in which Evans, LaFaro and Motian transformed the structure of the piano trio from that of a top-down piano-led hierarchy to an interactive lineup of equals.

It is worth adding that Complete Trio Recordings presents the tracks from which Sunday At The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby were assembled in chronological recording order, as they were performed during the trio's two afternoon and three evening sets at the Vanguard on June 25, 1961. Anyone not possessing the 3-CD The Complete Live At The Village Vanguard 1961 (Riverside, 2002), which also sequences the tracks in performance order, will appreciate this.

It would be nice to report that Complete Trio Recordings presents the Birdland material with improved audio, but it is as poor as on all previous releases and may well be beyond the scope of 2023 technology to improve. One day, perhaps, some sonic Jedis will pull it off; maybe the Ezz-thetics label's peerless producer/engineer team of Werner X. Uehlinger and Michael Brändli will have a crack at it. Meanwhile, of course, the music transcends its recorded quality.

Track Listing

Disc 1 Portrait in Jazz: Come Rain or Come Shine; Autumn Leaves; Witchcraft; When I Fall in Love; Peri's Scope; What Is This Thing Called Love?; Spring Is Here; Some Day My Prince Will Come; Blue in Green; Come Rain or Come Shine (alt tk); Autumn Leaves (alt tk mono); Blue in Green (alt tk 1); Blue in Green (alt tk 2). Disc 2 Explorations: Israel; Haunted Heart; Beautiful Love; Elsa; Nardis; How Deep Is the Ocean?; I Wish I Knew; Sweet and Lovely; The Boy Next Door; Beautiful Love (alt tk); How Deep Is the Ocean? (alt tk); I Wish I Knew (alt tk). Disc 3 1960 Birdland Broadcasts: Autumn Leaves; Our Delight; Beautiful Love; Autumn Leaves; Come Rain or Come Shine; Come Rain or Come Shine; Nardis; Blue in Green; Autumn Leaves; All of You; Come Rain or Come Shine; Speak Low. Disc 4 At The Village Vanguard Part 1: Gloria's Step (alt tk); Alice in Wonderland (alt tk); My Foolish Heart; All of You (alt tk 1); My Romance; Some Other Time; Solar; Gloria's Step; My Man's Gone Now; All of You; Detour Ahead (alt tk); Conversation. Disc 5 At The Village Vanguard Part 2: Waltz for Debby; Alice in Wonderland; I Loves You Porgy; My Romance (alt tk); Milestones; Detour Ahead; Gloria's Step (alt tk 2); Waltz for Debby; All of You (alt tk 2); Jade Visions (alt tk); Jade Visions 4:04; A Few Final Bars.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Complete Trio Recordings | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Fingerpoppin' Records


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