275

Bill Evans: The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Certain quintessential works of art, like Van Gogh's "Starry Night or Munch's "The Scream, have been iconic and universal in their appeal to a worldwide audience. Much in the same manner, jazz has its own share of legendary recordings that have become widely appreciated, from Benny Goodman's famous appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1938 to Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue (1959) or John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (1965). To that choice list of essential releases, few would argue that the 1961 Village Vanguard recordings of the Bill Evans trio hold a special place in the collective hearts of many musicians and fans, the complete results of which have now been assembled in an attractive set that should be required listening for anyone even remotely interested in jazz.

This would be one of those few instances in musical history when everything would be just for right for the making of a masterpiece. Evans was at the peak of his pianistic powers with his most sympathetic colleagues to date: bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. The trio had been developing its repertoire during their two-week stay at one of New York's most revered and intimate clubs, and engineer Dave Jones was on hand at the end of this stint to capture every subtle nuance. At the time, the music was diced and sliced and forced to fit the constraints of the LP era. Now it's all here as it went down and in glorious sound that puts you right in the middle of the action.

These three discs feature 22 performances from the five sets the trio performed back on June 25, 1961. Although in his commentary (included in the enclosed booklet) Orrin Keepnews calls the recording equipment "primitive," what has always been fascinating about these recordings have been the way that their crystaline quality illuminated the inner workings of this remarkable trio. Blow by blow descriptions are really unnecessary here. There's a freshness to this music that belies its age, and it never fails to energize, whether on the first or ninety-first listen.


Track Listing: CD1: Spoken Introduction; Gloria's Step (Take 1, interupted); Alice In Wonderland; My Foolish Heart; All Of You (Take 1); Announcement And Intermission; My Romance (Take 1); Some Other Time; Solar. CD2: Gloria's Step (Take 2); My Man's Gone Now; All Of You (Take 2); Detour Ahead (Take 1); Discussing Repertoire; Waltz For Debby (Take 1); Alice In Wonderland (Take 2); Porgy (I Loves You, Porgy); My Romance (Take 2); Milestones. CD3: Detour Ahead (Take 2); Gloria's Step (Take 3); Waltz For Debby (Take 2); All Of You (Take 3); Jade Visions (Take 1); Jade Visions (Take 2); ...A Few Final Bars.

Personnel: Bill Evans: piano; Scott LaFaro: bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Title: The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Riverside


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "A Woman's Work..." CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Work...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Inspired" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 25, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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