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Bill Evans Trio: The Last Waltz (The Final Recordings Live at Keystone Korner September 1980)

Glenn Astarita By

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Fans of the late great pianist Bill Evans should be overjoyed with the issuance of this nicely packaged eight CD boxed set that represents sixty-five previously unreleased tracks recorded live at San Francisco’s “Keystone Korner”, September, 1980. This attractive compilation is additionally enhanced by Derk Richardson’s wonderfully written and informative liner notes, as the author elaborates on Evans’ previous accomplishments and the sad events leading to the artist’s death which occurred shortly afterwards.

The Last Waltz features Evans along with his then working rhythm section of bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbera. And other than Evans’ signature renditions of standards such as the radiantly beautiful and sublime, “Emily”, the pianist performs his classic composition, “Waltz for Debby”, along with “Letter To Evan”, “Yet Ne’er Broken” (an anagram for his drug connection) and others. The musicians expand their creative juices while enjoying various levels of emotive interplay during several lengthy versions of Miles Davis’ “Nardis” yet at times, LaBarbera’s extended soloing leaves little to the imagination.

The eight CDs delineate Evans’ nine-day engagement at the “Keystone Corner” and as one would surmise there is some duplication of material throughout these recordings yet the musicians dutifully provide the nuance, finesse and firepower amid a few twists, turns and alterations of the musical scenery. Here, Evans performs with such intensity, grandeur and reverence for the material via flailing crescendos, harmonically rich themes, quick-witted invention, expressively percussive block chords and sinuous single note leads, while the sympathetic rhythm section comps and turns up the heat when called upon. Overall, The Last Waltz strikes a grand chord and resides as one of the more historically significant releases of 2000.

Track Listing:

Disc: 1
1. After You, 2. Like Someone In Love, 3. Polka Dots And Moonbeams, 4. Emily, 5. Turn Out The Stars, 6. I Do It For Your Love, 7. Nardis, 8. But Beautiful

Disc: 2
1. Yet Ne'er Broken, 2. Knit For Mary F, 3. Touch Of Your Lips, The, 4. My Man's Gone Now, 5. Turn Out The Stars, 6. Your Story, 7. Nardis

Disc: 3
1. Peau Douce, 2. Yet Ne'er Broken, 3. My Foolish Heart, 4. Up With The Lark, 5. Turn Out The Stars, 6. I Do It For Your Love, 7. Nardis, 8. Noelle's Theme / I Loves You, Porgy

Disc: 4
1. Yet Ne'er Broken, 2. Spring Is Here, 3. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me), 4. Letter To Evan, 5. If You Could See Me Now, 6. Two Lonely People, The, 7. Sleepin' Bee, A, 8. Haunted Heart 9. Five

Disc: 5
1. Re: Person I Knew, 2. Tiffany, 3. Polka Dots And Moonbeams, 4. Like Someone In Love, 5. Your Story, 6. Someday My Prince Will Come, 7. Letter To Evan, 8. My Romance, 9. But Beautiful

Disc: 6
1. Mornin' Glory, 2. Emily, 3. For Mary F, 4. Days Of Wine And Roses, 5. Up With The Lark, 6. My Foolish Heart, 7. Nardis, 8. But Beautiful

Disc: 7
1. My Foolish Heart, 2. Nardis, 3. Mother Of Earl, 4. If You Could See Me Now, 5. My Man's Gone Now, 6. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me), 7. Waltz For Debby, 8. Spring Is Here, 9. Five

Disc: 8
1. Letter To Evan, 2. My Man's Gone Now, 3. 34 Skidoo, 4. Spring Is Here, 5. Autumn Leaves, 6. Knit For Mary F, 7. Nardis

Personnel: Bill Evans: Piano; Marc Johnson: Bass; Joe LaBarbera - Drums.

Title: The Last Waltz | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

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