Video: Bill Evans at Montreux '78

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On the evening of Wednesday, July 12, 1978, the Bill Evans Trio took the stage and performed an 11-song set in the Casino de Montreux at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. Evans's face was just starting to show the haggard strains of his regular drug use and tireless touring. His hands weren't puffy yet, a condition that develops after long-term intravenous drug addiction. As a result, his playing at Montreux was still tender and measured, not agitated and rushed.

Interestingly, a live Evans album from the 1978 Montreux Jazz Festival was never produced, but the trio's performance was videotaped for Swiss television (Radio Télévision Suisse), which used just six of the 11 songs. Pierre Grandjean produced. The Bill Evans Trio in July '78 featured Evans on piano, Marc Johnson on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Marc had joined the trio two weeks earlier, and drummer Joe LaBarbera would became a member of the final Bill Evans Trio later in the year.

On the newly uploaded video for Swiss TV, we hear the trio play Johnny Mandel's Suicide Is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H), Duke Ellington's Reflections in D and Miles Davis's Nardis. Then guitarist Kenny Burrell joins the group for Davis's All Blues, Billy Strayhorn's Take the A Train and Thad Jones's A Child Is Born. A shame we don't have the entire 11 tracks in the broadcast.

Here's the 50-minute video for Swiss television...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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