275

Bill Evans: Getting Sentimental: Live at the Village Vanguard

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Evans: Getting Sentimental: Live at the Village Vanguard Devotees of the immortal Bill Evans will jump at this bouquet of previously unreleased cuts, taped by fan Mike Harris at the Village Vanguard on January 15, 1978. During that week, Evans was trying out a different replacement for bassist Eddie Gomez each night, among them Rufus Reid and George Mraz. This recording was Michael Moore's "audition" for the trio, which he passed, staying with them for six months. Harris's reel-to-reel was digitally edited and mastered at Fantasy studios in 2003 and the sound, while a tad muffled, is decent enough to make this CD very listenable. And at 73 minutes, it's a generous sampling of live, late-period Evans (he died two years later).



As luck would have it, I'm in the middle of reading Peter Pettinger's 1998 biography of Evans, entitled How My Heart Sings, and his account of this trio matches the liner notes of this session. It also expresses my reaction to this CD: this is not the relaxed, lyrical Evans who influenced virtually every pianist who came after him. For one thing, most of the tunes are up-tempo, even Denny Zeitlin's shimmering "Quiet Now," which Evans actually sounds impatient to get through.

There are moments of his trademark harmonic density on Jimmy Rowles's gorgeous "The Peacocks," but drummer Philly Joe Jones is so strident and busy on the second and third choruses that it precludes the luxuriating one usually does with an Evans ballad. (Perhaps the tape recorder was sitting right next to the drums?) The same thing happens with the classic "Emily"— Johnny Mandel's beauty, long associated with Evans—where his solo intro seems rushed on its way to the fast waltz. His own lovely "Turn out the Stars" gets a similar treatment. I hear more freshness and enthusiasm in Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" and the evergreen "When I Fall in Love."

As Moore puts it,

It was a very emotional thing for me, to get the job, and then to have to quit. Maybe I wanted him to be the Bill Evans I was listening to back in 1962, but I know it got to the point where Bill believed having his playing described as "melodic" and "beautiful' was an insult, so he decided he wanted to be "hot" and play lots of notes.


There are seeds of that tendency in this CD, but there are also wonderful (dare I say "beautiful?") moments, like Evans's soulful, focused interpretation of "But Beautiful," the only true ballad in the mix.

The fact that this was the first time Moore played with Evans—reading chords off a little notebook—makes this a remarkable example of the mastery and spontaneity that are possible in jazz. In any case, it's a valuable document of a legendary career.


Track Listing: I Should Care, How My Heart Sings, Gary's Theme, I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, Quiet Now, Re: Person I Knew, The Peacocks, Emily, Song from M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless), Turn out the Stars, When I Fall in Love, In Your Own Sweet Way, But Beautiful, I Love You

Personnel: Bill Evans (piano), Michael Moore (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)

Title: Getting Sentimental: Live at the Village Vanguard | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

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 Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017" CD/LP/Track Review But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017
by Roger Weisman
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "Pastures" CD/LP/Track Review Pastures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Plays New Zealand" CD/LP/Track Review Plays New Zealand
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "The Harry Warren Song Book" CD/LP/Track Review The Harry Warren Song Book
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Flying Machines" CD/LP/Track Review Flying Machines
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Equal Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Crossing
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 10, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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