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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Riverside

Distinctions 8/10 de Volume - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard

Contemporary Jazz - Released February 2, 1981 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
This well-rounded set (released posthumously) features the highly influential pianist Bill Evans in a set of typically sensitive trio performances. With his longtime bassist Eddie Gomez and his drummer of the period, Eliot Zigmund, Evans explores such songs as "We Will Meet Again," Jimmy Rowles's classic "The Peacocks" and the "Theme from M*A*S*H." It's a solid example of the great pianist's artistry. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released March 4, 1985 | Verve

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects - The Qobuz Standard
This collaboration (reissued on CD) is predictably dull. Bill Evans and his 1965 trio (which also includes bassist Chuck Israels and drummer Larry Bunker) meet a symphony orchestra conducted and arranged by Claus Ogerman. They perform adaptations of six classical themes plus a pair of Evans compositions ("Time Remembered" and "My Bells") but, as one might expect, the strings weigh down the music and Evans' improvisations are somewhat buried beneath the unimaginative arrangements. This is one of Bill Evans' least significant recordings, a weak third stream effort. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Riverside

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Sunday at the Village Vanguard is the initial volume of a mammoth recording session by the Bill Evans Trio, from June 25, 1961 at New York's Village Vanguard documenting Evans' first trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Its companion volume is Waltz for Debby. This trio is still widely regarded as his finest, largely because of the symbiotic interplay between its members. Tragically, LaFaro was killed in an automobile accident ten days after this session was recorded, and Evans assembled the two packages a few months afterward. While "Waltz for Debby" -- in retrospect -- is seemingly a showcase for Evans' brilliant, subtle, and wide-ranging pianism, this volume becomes an homage, largely, to the genius and contribution of LaFaro. That said, however, this were never the point. According to Motian, when Evans built this trio based on live gigs at the Basin Street East, the intention was always to develop a complete interactive trio experience. At the time, this was an unheard of notion, since piano trios were largely designed to showcase the prowess of the front line soloist with rhythmic accompaniment. Here, one need listen no further than the elegant and haunting, graceful modal reading of "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy & Bess to know that there is something completely balanced and indescribably beautiful in their approach. Motian's brushes whisper along the ride cymbals and both Evans and LaFaro enter into a dialogue that emerges from a darkly hued minor mode, into the melody and somehow beyond it, into a form of seamless dialogic improvisation to know that in the act of one musician slipping over and under another -- as happens with all three in an aural basket weave -- is something utterly new and different, often imitated but never replicated. But in a sense it happens before this, on LaFaro's "Gloria's Step," which opens the recording. His thematic statement includes the briefest intro, hesitant and spacious before he and pianist enter into a harmonic and contrapuntal conversation underscored by the hushed dynamics of Motian's snare, and the lightning-fast interlocutions of single string and chorded playing of LaFaro. The shapshifting reading of Miles Davis' "Solar," is a place where angularity, counterpoint, and early modalism all come together in a knotty and insistent, yet utterly seamless blend of post-bop aesthetics and expanded harmonic intercourse with Motian, whose work, while indispensable in the balance of the trio, comes more into play here, and is more assertive with his half-time accents to frame the counterpoint playing of Evans and LaFaro. This is a great place to begin with Evans. ~ Thom Jurek

Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Riverside

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
When this album was recorded in February of 1961, it had been more than year since the Portrait in Jazz was issued, the disc that won the critics over. By the time of this issue, Evans had released four albums in six years, a pace unheard of during that time. Most musicians were issuing two, three, and even four records a year during the same era. Many speculate on Evans' personal problems at the time, but the truth of the matter lies in the recordings themselves, and Explorations proves that the artist was worth waiting for no matter what else was going on out there. Evans, with Paul Motian and Scott LaFaro, was onto something as a trio, exploring the undersides of melodic and rhythmic constructions that had never been considered by most. For one thing, Evans resurrects a number of tunes that had been considered hopelessly played out, and literally reinvents them -- "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Sweet and Lovely." His harmonic richness that extends the melodic and color palette of these numbers literally revived them from obscurity and brought them back into the canon. He also introduced "Haunted Heart" into the jazz repertoire, with a wonderfully impressionistic melodic structure, offered space, and depth by the understatement of Motian and extension by LaFaro's canny use of intervals. Also noteworthy is Miles Davis' "Nardis," which Evans first played on a Cannonball Adderley set a couple of years before. The rhythmic workout by the Motian and LaFaro places Evans' own playing in a new context, with shorter lines, chopping up the meter, and a series of arpeggios that open the ground for revelatory solo in counterpoint by LaFaro. Explorations is an extraordinary example of the reach and breadth of this trio at its peak. ~ Thom Jurek

Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Jazz - Released January 1, 1970 | Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Pianist Bill Evans (who doubles on electric piano on this album for the final time in the recording studio) welcomes guest harmonica player Toots Thielemans and Larry Schneider (on tenor, soprano and alto flute) to an outing with bassist Marc Johnson (making his recording debut with Evans) and drummer Eliot Zigmund. The material contains some surprises (including Paul Simon's "I Do It for Your Love" and Michel Legrand's "The Other Side of Tonight") and only two jazz standards ("Body & Soul" and "Blue and Green") with the latter being the only Evans composition. Excellent if not essential music that Evans generally uplifts. ~ Scott Yanow

Contemporary Jazz - Released May 8, 2009 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Just three months before his death, pianist BIll Evans was extensively recorded at the Village Vanguard. Originally, one or two LPs were to be released featuring his brilliant new trio (with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbera), but after the innovative pianist's death, the project was stalled for over 15 years. Finally, when Warner Bros. got around to it, a definitive six-CD box set was released (although unfortunately in limited-edition form). Evans sounded quite energized during his last year, Johnson was developing quickly as both an accompanist and a soloist, and the interplay by the trio members (with subtle support from LaBarbera) sometimes bordered on the telepathic. The playing throughout these consistently inventive performances ranks up there with the Evans-Scott LaFaro-Paul Motian trio of 20 years earlier. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released July 3, 2002 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This long-lost session, not released initially until 1982, features pianist Bill Evans, tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Philly Joe Jones interpreting seven of the pianist's recent originals. Due to some difficulties during the recording process (none of the sidemen were familiar with the often complex numbers), the results were originally shelved and lost for a couple of decades. This CD reissue shows that the music was actually much better than originally thought. While "Time Remembered," "Funkallero," and "My Bells" would become Evans standards, it is quite interesting to hear such forgotten obscurities as "Loose Bloose" (heard in two versions), "There Came You," "Fun Ride," and "Fudgesickle Built for Four"; a couple of the songs could stand to be revived. It is a pity that Evans and Sims (a logical combination) never did record together again. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released November 25, 1988 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Bill Evans' 1963 album Plays the Theme from The V.I.P.s and Other Great Songs features the legendary pianist eschewing his more introspective sound for a commercial pop approach. Working with an orchestral background courtesy of conductor/arranger Claus Ogerman (uncredited here), Evans delves into songs by such writers as Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, Elmer Bernstein, Miklós Rózsa, and others. While the album has more to do with light easy listening than deep harmonic jazz exploration, there is much to enjoy here for fans of jazz-inflected '60s pop. ~ Matt Collar

Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Riverside

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Often stirring controversy for no key or good reason, Conversations with Myself has Bill Evans utilizing the sound-on-sound technique of reel-to-reel tape recording available in the 1960s to play simultaneous twin pianos. It's an interesting combination of counterpointed lines and chords that Evans employs, with differing tempos and shadings that complement rather than contrast. Additionally, the usage of angular dialect à la Thelonious Monk and the witty discourse he can conjure with his own styles thicken and broaden the horizons of the usually spare harmonic inventions the pianist expresses on his own. With the overdubbing, Evans achieves true interplay and counterpoint on his own, starting with the rich harmonies of Monk's "'Round Midnight," where he adds alternate lines in a slightly ramped-up midtempo take. "Blue Monk" has Evans sounding like a guitarist in his single-note and chordal discourse, perhaps influenced by Wes Montgomery, while the CD bonus track "Bemsha Swing" sports the ineffable and unexpected twists and turns that identify the author. Away from Monk, the spacious "Spartacus Love Theme" is rendered beautifully in spite of the extra tracking, "Stella by Starlight" uses a more unified approach between the two piano tracks, and is a chamber type reading, while "Hey There" employs off-minor options that are not standardized by any means. The stealth and deliberate shadings of the lone Evans original, "N.Y.C.'s No Lark," do contrast with the energetic high-octave chords on "How About You?" in a music that is certainly busy for Evans. His bonus take of Truman Capote's "A Sleepin' Bee" is also more active than fans of Evans are used to, but within a slower pace, as combined techniques are simmered with an Asian flavoring. Conversations with Myself is certainly one of the more unusual items in the discography of an artist whose consistency is as evident as any in modern jazz, and nothing should dissuade you from purchasing this one of a kind album that in some ways set a technological standard for popular music -- and jazz -- to come. ~ Michael G. Nastos