595

Bill Evans Trio: Explorations

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
An article in a men’s magazine once suggested an exercise regimen that consisted of a walk to the local record store to buy one Bill Evans CD every day. That way you would not only be in better shape, but you would also have a great collection of piano jazz as well. It’s an established fact that Evans revolutionized the sound of the piano trio; you can bet that every pianist who ever worked the hotel lounge circuit has worn out the grooves listening to his records. However, unlike the cocktail tinklings of his admirers that end up little more than background music, Evans demands to be heard, seducing you with his indelibly emotional playing. Most aficionados would agree that his trio records with Scott LaFaro on bass are his best, and the natural place for a novice to start.

Explorations is the second outing by this trio and took almost a year to record after Portrait in Jazz, the album that won him such great critical acclaim. Evans conceptualized the trio as exactly that—a trio, where each member contributed equally to the whole. It works marvelously: LaFaro’s nimble bass playing and Motian’s drumming provide a relaxed, rhythmic underpinning for Evan’s graceful chords. The trio works magic here, breathing fresh air into standards such as “How Deep and the Ocean?” and “Beautiful Love” and creating the illusion that these songs were written just so someone like Evans could play them. The highlight of the album is “Elsa,” which is one of the most beautiful piano ballads on record. Many would point to the later live recordings at the Village Vanguard as the essential Evans, but this earlier studio recording is quite a treat as well.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Hotel Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Trail Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Trail Magic
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 15, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.