604

Bill Evans Trio: Everybody Digs Bill Evans

Samuel Chell By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Evans Trio: Everybody Digs Bill Evans 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 is a non-obtrusive temporal flow, leaving the floor wide open to the graceful moves of the featured performer.

Evans is as much choreographer as principal player on the date, using one of the choruses of "Night and Day" to showcase in succession unaccompanied drums, then bass, and finally piano. And when it's his turn, the pianist executes one of those right-handed "discrete portamentos" unique to his pianistic skills, connecting the lower and upper registers in a single broad sweep yet fingering each rapidly played note with uniform clarity and optimal richness.

"Peace Piece," one of the most popular recordings of Evans' career, is an adventure in sheer minimalism, as daring as it is exquisite. Not yet a major "star" among the field of post-Powell pianists, Evans nevertheless plays less like the newest challenger than a secure and commanding artist with nothing to prove. Even Sonny Rollins' "Oleo," which follows, is not taken at customary flag-waving speed. The pianist, moreover, appears to "cue" the entrances of Philly Joe, discouraging the drummer from ramping up the tune into a conventional bebop burner.

The more straight-ahead, swinging player is in evidence on Gigi Gryce's "Minority," but even here the pianist exercises restraint, placing as much emphasis on the dynamic contouring of his melodic lines and on figures played in thirds or major sevenths as on single-note "blowing" piano. As a result, the crystalline poignancy of the ballads that follow is less a change in mood than the continuation of a unified tone poem.

With its varied tempos, rhythms and programming, Everybody Digs Bill Evans sustains interest without allowing the listener for a moment to mistake the singular, inimitable voice of the leader. It's not hard to understand why many Evans followers, "casual" and otherwise, list it as their favorite of the pianist's recordings. It's doubtful there's a more introspective, meditative trio set on record, yet the pianist shows he can dance as well.


Track Listing: Minority; Young and Foolish; Lucky To Be Me; Night and Day; Epilogue; Tenderly; Peace Piece; What Is There To Say?; Oleo; Epilogue; Some Other Time.

Personnel: Bill Evans: piano; Sam Jones: bass; Philly Joe Jones: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Riverside


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Some Morning" CD/LP/Track Review Some Morning
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Avant Funk" CD/LP/Track Review Avant Funk
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater" CD/LP/Track Review Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano" CD/LP/Track Review EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano
by Doug Collette
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC" CD/LP/Track Review Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 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!