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18

The Bill Evans Trio: On A Monday Evening

Dan McClenaghan By

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Bill Evans, one of the most influential of jazz pianists, died in 1981. He left a legacy. The brilliant shine of his artistry gained widespread recognition in 1959 with his contribution to Miles Davis classic Kind Of Blue (Columbia Records, 1959), and surged into stellar territory with the release of his own Sunday At The Village Vanguard (Riverside Records, 1961), a trio outing featuring bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. The interactivity and equality of input of that particular ensemble—as opposed to the drummer and bassist serving as unobtrusive accompanists for the pianist—changed the trajectory of the future of piano trios.

But the recordings taken from one night in the Village Vanguard (June 26, 1961), that included Waltz For Debby (Riverside Records, 1962) as well as the previously mentioned Sunday At The Village Vanguard, were the last for the groundbreaking group. Scott LaFaro died ten days after those legendary recordings, and Paul Motian eventually moved on. And Bill Evans moved on, too, producing an impressive discography over the next twenty years.

Well into the new millennium, the hits keep coming: The Sejun Radio Sessions (Naxos, 2011); Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top Of the World (2012); and Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest (Resonance Record, 2016). Now we have On A Monday Evening, recorded live in 1976, with one of Evans' best late career trio configurations: Eddie Gomez, Evan's longest term bassist, employed for eleven years by the pianist, and drummer Eliot Zigmund, who—at the time of this recording—had only been with the trio for a year. This may qualify as the second great trio, with the sidemen as in-synch with Evans' melodic intricacies and harmonic depth as any except the LaFaro/Motian team.

After the major success of Sunday At The Village Vanguard Evans' artistry deepened. He was prolific, and terrific trio albums were released by his various trios nearly every year. Sometimes two or three a year.

Where does On A Monday Evening fit in terms of quality with his other late career releases? Near or at the top, with Since We Met (Original Jazz Classics, 1974) and I Will Say Goodbye (Concord, 1979). The trio's approach this night was crisp and lively—as opposed to the oftimes brooding and introspective Evans mode. The harmonic complexity has a jazz zing.The tunes are mostly familiar Evans' vehicles: "Time Remembered," "T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune)," "All Of You," "Some Other Time," "Someday My Prince Will Come," with the trio sounding especially inspired. And there is the dreamiest, loveliest version of "Minha (All Mine)" included, lightening the generally more propulsive atmosphere.

A top Bill Evans Trio at the top of their game is hard to beat. That's On A Monday Evening.

Track Listing: Sugar Plum; Up With the Lark; Time Remembered; T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune); Someday My Prince Will Come; Minha (All Mine); All Of You; Some Other Time.

Personnel: Bill Evans: piano; Eddie Gomez: bass; Eliot Zigmund: drums.

Title: On A Monday Evening | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

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