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Bill Evans: You Must Believe In Spring (Hybrid SACD)


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Bill Evans: You Must Believe In Spring (Hybrid SACD)
The quietude with which "B Minor Waltz (For Ellaine)" opens You Must Believe In Spring belies the hearty homage this release constitutes in recognition of the title's forty-fifth anniversary. As a means of righteous and deserving tribute to his seventieth studio album, the late Bill Evans' debut for the Warner Bros. label is enhanced in a number of ways.

First and foremost is the sonic upgrade for hybrid-SACD (as well as the vinyl LP configuration). Using the Plangent Processes Playback System, with remastering by Paul Blakemore, the fastidious effort provides a clean sheen for the audio on, for example, "The Peacocks." The technical work thus furthers an impression of this playing as a single string of exchanges between the three instrumentalists.

In addition, three tracks of some twenty-three extra minutes bring the total playing time close to an hour. Taken from the 1977 sessions at Capitol Studios Los Angeles, produced with sensitivity by Tommy LiPuma and Evan's long-time recording session collaborator Helen Keane (and previously issued only on the 2003 Rhino Records compact disc), these include a take on the only song from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959) that Evans did not play on; "Freddie Freeloader" is further notable for Evans' use of a Fender Rhodes electric piano in addition to his customary acoustic instrument (in this case the studio's Steinway).

In his essay within the twelve-page booklet enclosed in the jewel box, Marc Myers does a perfectly scholarly job in revealing the backstory behind those cuts and the album in general. He does, however, struggle for words to describe the music and, as a result, his decidedly overly-effusive prose only makes the poetry of Bill Zavatsky—his "Elegy (For Bill Evans, 1929-1980)," also incuded in the cover booklet—ring more true in its evocation of the sublime sensation that comes from hearing this music.

That effect itself mirrors the interactions here by the late pianist and his trio. Not that bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund were truly deferential to the bandleader on a track like the closer of the original seven selections, "Theme From M*A*S*H* (aka Suicide is Painless)," but their level of respect is unmistakable in the almost reverential means they suggest ideas to be explored by the threesome as a whole.

As much or more than the previous Evans trios, this configuration infused their balanced sense of adventure with the stately grace of the frontman. In fact, one of the extra tracks, "All Of You," finds the threesome almost equal in their delineation of melodic and rhythmic motifs: it is this sort of uncanny shared instinct that gave birth to—and here lends credence to—the notion those musicians with the greatest camaraderie are communicating telepathically.

In much the same way, this re-release of You Must Believe in Spring lends veracity to the belief there is no such thing as too much of the late iconic pianist/composer's work. More importantly, however, it offers a readily-accessible gateway into Evans' work for those not familiar with it, as well as a bountiful addition to the collections of those who've long doted on the late great musician's oeuvre.

Track Listing

B Minor Waltz (For Ellaine); You Must Believe In Spring; Gary’s Theme; We Will Meet Again (For Harry); The Peacocks; Sometime Ago; Theme from M*A*S*H* (aka Suicide Is Painless); Without A Song; Freddie Freeloader; All Of You.


Additional Instrumentation

Bill Evans: electric piano.

Album information

Title: You Must Believe In Spring (Hybrid SACD) | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Craft Recordings

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