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It's hard to believe pianist Bill Evans (1929-1980) has been gone nearly as many years as his interesting recording career lasted. In that time, Evans's influence has become one of the most pervasive of twentieth century pianists and he endures as one of the most distinctive of jazz practitioners.
In addition to the many known and famed recordings Evans made, many more that were taped privately or never issued are now beginning to become available. Half Moon Bay is one such previously unavailable recording that catches the Evans trio live at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, an intimate living-room style club in Half Moon Bay, California, on November 4, 1973.
On this beautiful and welcome occasion, Evans is heard in the familiar long-time company of bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell. Clearly the trio is relaxed and enjoying themselves and, as the notes declare, "playing beyond themselves." They're introspective and intuitive by nature. But here they seem to revel in this warm, inviting atmosphere and explore each other's music beautifully together.
The disc begins with a more playful than usual version of Evans's well-known "Waltz for Debby," and displays that ever-evolving Evans essence on expert renditions of "Very Early," "Autumn Leaves," "Quiet Now," "Who Can I Turn To" and "Someday My Price Will Come."
A special treat here is the trio's cover of Earl Zanders' (writer of "Elsa," included here and "How My Heart Sings, which is not here) "Sareen Jurer," a song Evans didn't seem to record elsewhere and a prominent showcase for bassist Gomez's entrancing bowed solo. Gomez is, in fact, prominently featured throughout, taking marvelous solos on "Autmns Leaves" and "Who Can I Turn To" too.
Well recorded and produced, Half Moon Bay is a welcome addition to the burgeoning Bill Evans catalog and presents a compelling argument for the notability of this trio, featuring bassist Eddie Gomez, as one of the pianist's three best. Recommended.
Songs:Introductions; Waltz For Debby; Sareen Jurer; Very Early; Autmn Leaves; What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life; Quiet Now; Who Can I Turn To; Elsa; Someday My Prince Will Come.
Players:Bill Evans: piano; Eddie Gomez: bass; Marty Morell: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.