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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions 8/10 de Volume - 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 /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Concord Records

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 /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Concord Records

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 /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Universal Music Mexico

Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - The Qobuz Standard
Recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1961, shortly before Scott LaFaro's death, Waltz for Debby is the second album issued from that historic session, and the final one from that legendary trio that also contained drummer Paul Motian. While the Sunday at the Village Vanguard album focused on material where LaFaro soloed prominently, this is far more a portrait of the trio on those dates. Evans chose the material here, and, possibly, in some unconscious way, revealed on these sessions -- and the two following LaFaro's death (Moonbeams and How My Heart Sings!) -- a different side of his musical personality that had never been displayed on his earlier solo recordings or during his tenures with Miles Davis and George Russell: Evans was an intensely romantic player, flagrantly emotional, and that is revealed here in spades on tunes such as "My Foolish Heart" and "Detour Ahead." There is a kind of impressionistic construction to his harmonic architecture that plays off the middle registers and goes deeper into its sonances in order to set into motion numerous melodic fragments simultaneously. The rhythmic intensity that he displayed as a sideman is evident here in "Milestones," with its muscular shifting time signature and those large, flatted ninths with the right hand. The trio's most impressive interplay is in "My Romance," after Evans' opening moments introducing the changes. Here Motian's brushwork is delicate, flighty and elegant, and LaFaro controls the dynamic of the tune with his light as a feather pizzicato work and makes Evans' deeply emotional statements swing effortlessly. Of the many recordings Evans issued, the two Vanguard dates and Explorations are the ultimate expressions of his legendary trio. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 10, 2017 | Riverside

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The music recorded by Bill Evans on June 25, 1961, has long since acquired legendary status. Evans, a brilliant pianist whose unique voicings have influenced over a generation of jazz pianists who have followed him, weaves one masterpiece after another with bassist Scott LaFaro (a promising composer and phenomenal bassist) and the equally valuable drummer Paul Motian. The interplay between them is phenomenal throughout each of their five sets from the final day of a summer gig at the Village Vanguard. This beautifully remastered three-CD collection restores the previously omitted take of "Gloria's Step" (marred only by a brief power outage) and the humorous finale by Evans at the end of the night (first issued in the massive Complete Riverside Recordings box set). The songs are in their original recorded sequence, adding a bit of ambience and audience reaction between numbers. Sadly, it was the trio's final recording, as LaFaro died in a car crash ten days later. The selections from this three-CD box set have been reissued numerous times over the years, but this is the first time that all of them have been collected in one U.S. release. Orrin Keepnews, the original producer, updates the liner notes he previously contributed to earlier issues of this music with a thoughtful commentary. This is an essential purchase, whether you are a novice or seasoned jazz fan. [Released on vinyl in November 2014.] © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Original Jazz Classics

Distinctions 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 /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Original Jazz Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Moon Beams was the first recording Bill Evans made after the death of his musical right arm, bassist Scott LaFaro. Indeed, in LaFaro, Evans found a counterpart rather than a sideman, and the music they made together over four albums showed it. Bassist Chuck Israels from Cecil Taylor and Bud Powell's bands took his place in the band with Evans and drummer Paul Motian and Evans recorded the only possible response to the loss of LaFaro -- an album of ballads. The irony on this recording is that, despite material that was so natural for Evans to play, particularly with his trademark impressionistic sound collage style, is that other than as a sideman almost ten years before, he has never been more assertive than on Moon Beams. It is as if, with the death of LaFaro, Evans' safety net was gone and he had to lead the trio alone. And he does first and foremost by abandoning the impressionism in favor of a more rhythmic and muscular approach to harmony. The set opens with an Evans original, "RE: Person I Knew," a modal study that looks back to his days he spent with Miles Davis. There is perhaps the signature jazz rendition of "Stairway to the Stars," with its loping yet halting melody line and solo that is heightened by Motian's gorgeous brush accents in the bridge section. Other selections are so well paced and sequenced the record feels like a dream, with the lovely stuttering arpeggios that fall in "If You Could See Me Now," and the cascading interplay between Evan's chords and Israel's punctuation in "It Might as Well Be Spring," a tune Evans played for the rest of his life. The set concludes with a waltz in "Very Early," that is played at that proper tempo with great taste and delicate elegance throughout, there is no temptation by the rhythm section to charge it up or to elongate the harmonic architecture by means of juggling intervals. Moon Beams was a startling return to the recording sphere and a major advancement in his development as a leader. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Moon Beams was the first recording Bill Evans made after the death of his musical right arm, bassist Scott LaFaro. Indeed, in LaFaro, Evans found a counterpart rather than a sideman, and the music they made together over four albums showed it. Bassist Chuck Israels from Cecil Taylor and Bud Powell's bands took his place in the band with Evans and drummer Paul Motian and Evans recorded the only possible response to the loss of LaFaro -- an album of ballads. The irony on this recording is that, despite material that was so natural for Evans to play, particularly with his trademark impressionistic sound collage style, is that other than as a sideman almost ten years before, he has never been more assertive than on Moon Beams. It is as if, with the death of LaFaro, Evans' safety net was gone and he had to lead the trio alone. And he does first and foremost by abandoning the impressionism in favor of a more rhythmic and muscular approach to harmony. The set opens with an Evans original, "RE: Person I Knew," a modal study that looks back to his days he spent with Miles Davis. There is perhaps the signature jazz rendition of "Stairway to the Stars," with its loping yet halting melody line and solo that is heightened by Motian's gorgeous brush accents in the bridge section. Other selections are so well paced and sequenced the record feels like a dream, with the lovely stuttering arpeggios that fall in "If You Could See Me Now," and the cascading interplay between Evan's chords and Israel's punctuation in "It Might as Well Be Spring," a tune Evans played for the rest of his life. The set concludes with a waltz in "Very Early," that is played at that proper tempo with great taste and delicate elegance throughout, there is no temptation by the rhythm section to charge it up or to elongate the harmonic architecture by means of juggling intervals. Moon Beams was a startling return to the recording sphere and a major advancement in his development as a leader. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Everybody Digs Bill Evans was a landmark recording for the young pianist and sported a unique album cover, featuring written-out endorsements from Miles Davis, George Shearing, Ahmad Jamal, and Cannonball Adderley. At a time approximate to when Evans was performing with the famous Kind of Blue band of Davis, Adderley, and John Coltrane, and actually departing the band, Evans continued to play the trio music he was ultimately best known for. With the unmatched pair of former Miles Davis drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist Sam Jones (no relation), Evans was emerging not only as an ultra-sensitive player, but as an interpreter of standards second to none. The drummer is quite toned down to match the dynamics of the session, while the ever-reliable bassist lays back even more than usual, but at the expense of his soul. Of the covers, the solo "Lucky to Me" and the melancholy "What Is There to Say?" with the trio evoke the cool, smoldering emotionalism Evans was known for. He's even more starkly reserved on his solo version of "Young and Foolish." But Evans also knows how to play vigorous bop, tearing up the complicated "Oleo," and he modestly tackles the Gigi Gryce icon "Minority," though if you listen closely, the takes are slightly imprecise and a bit thin. Evans is hyperactive on a clattery calypso version of "Night and Day," with the melody almost an afterthought, powered by the precise drumming of Philly Joe Jones. Taking "Tenderly" in waltz time, Evans makes this familiar theme inimitably all his own. There are three more solos: two Asian-inspired interludes titled "Epilogue" and the demure and ultimately quiet "Peace Piece," a timeless, meditational, reverent, prayer-inspired composition that, in time, set a standard for chamber/classical European-tailored jazz. In an alternate/second-version bonus track, Evans superimposes this theme under the standard "Some Other Time," and it fits beautifully. Though not his very best effort overall, Evans garnered great attention, and rightfully so, from this important album of 1958. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1986 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
At the Village Vanguard features the innovative Bill Evans Trio in peak form during a 1961 engagement at New York's Village Vanguard, just days before bassist Scott LaFaro's tragic death in a car accident. At the time, the Vanguard date yielded two separate live albums, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby. This LP is a selection from the two previous releases which are also available as individual discs. The Trio had recorded only twice before: the studio sessions Portrait in Jazz in late December 1959, followed by Explorations more than a year after in February 1961. Six months later, these live recordings vividly captured a seminal moment in jazz only hinted at on their previous efforts. While Evans' extended solos on long tracks like "Solar" and "All of You" are lean and rhythmically incisive, the brilliant LaFaro is the real star here. His relentlessly upfront, guitar-like basslines and solos repeatedly challenge Evans and drummer Paul Motian to accompany him on a previously uncharted journey in pure improvisation. LaFaro's lyrical originals "Gloria's Step" and "Jade Visions" also revealed a fine jazz composer in the making. © Rovi Staff /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Aside from a series of studio sessions a decade earlier for Verve, this LP represents the only other meeting featuring Stan Getz with pianist Bill Evans. Originally issued by the notorious bootleg label Jazzdoor with six selections from a Laren, Holland concert in 1974, Milestone acquired the masters for a legitimate release and added four bonus tunes from a concert in Antwerp, Belgium a week later. Getz meshes almost perfectly with Evans' trio (with bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell), with only one sore spot: Getz ignored the pianist's request not to play the under-rehearsed "Stan's Blues," which provoked Evans into quickly dropping out and signaling his sidemen to avoid solos of their own. But the remaining tracks are all invigorating, particularly Evans' brisk "Funkallero" and the lush take of Jimmy Rowles' ballad "The Peacocks." It seems a shame that there were not additional opportunities for Getz and Evans to work together on other occasions, but it is possible that their strong personalities would have clashed. Highly recommended! © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1978 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Thirteen years after his legendary Village Vanguard recordings, Bill Evans recorded Since We Met at the famous New York establishment again. Using his trio of the era (which includes bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell), Evans explores both familiar ("Time Remembered," "Turn Out the Stars" and "But Beautiful") and new (Joe Zawinul's "Midnight Mood," "See-Saw" and "Sareen Jurer") material. This CD reissue gives listeners a good example of Bill Evans' early-'70s trio as it typically sounded in clubs. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Pop - Released January 1, 1999 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Pianist Bill Evans' final project for the Riverside label resulted in eight songs released as Bill Evans Trio at Shelly's Manne-Hole. This set doubles the program by adding eight previously unreleased selections. Evans, who is in fine form playing in a trio with bassist Chuck Israels and drummer Larry Bunker, often sounded more relaxed in concert than in studios and he stretches himself on the material (mostly standards), making one wonder why all of the music was not orignally released. This is one of the finest recordings by this particular trio. Worth searching for. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This LP is a superior effort by Bill Evans and his trio in early 1966. The last recording by longtime bassist Chuck Israels (who had joined the Trio in 1962) with Evans (the tastefully supportive drummer Arnold Wise completes the group), this live set features the group mostly performing lyrical and thoughtful standards. Highlights include "I Should Care," "Who Can I Turn To," and "My Foolish Heart." The most memorable piece, however, is the 13-and-a-half-minute "Solo: In Memory of His Father," an extensive unaccompanied exploration by Evans that partly uses a theme that became "Turn Out the Stars." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Universal Music Mexico

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Recorded in May and June of 1962, at the same time as the Moonbeams sessions, How My Heart Sings shows a different side of the Bill Evans Trio than that all-ballads album. Here, the eight selections have a much more mid- and even up-tempo flair. Israel appears more comfortable in these settings to be sure, as he is the kind of bassist that relegates himself deeply into the rhythm section, sublimating himself to the pianist. In Evans' own words, the band's desire was to "provide a more singing sound" in this material. The set begins with a lyrical waltz in the title track. Evans himself comments in the liner notes that it "contains a delightful 4/4 interlude framed by a delightful 3/4 lyric line." Nowhere does he discuss his solo that literally ripples in delicate waves off the middle register, and Motian's stick work shimmies up the rhythm and allows it to truly dance and sing. There are a number of standards here, including "Summertime," which sounds so different with its mid-tempo opening and Israel's flaunting bass vamp in front of the piano. When Evans gets to the melody he is following the swinging skip of Motian's drums, and he digs deep into inverting the melody line with a slew of arpeggios and short, choppy phrases. On Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," Evans takes the snap in the tune and breaks it, committing it to a driving swing and vaunting lyrical gem that has three seemingly unresolvable harmonic problems in the center that turn out to be a Moebius strip in Evan's chromatic language. This is a tough recording; it flies in the face of the conventions Evans himself has set, and yet retrains the deep, nearly profound lyricism that was the pianist's trademark. [Some reissues add an alternate take of "In Your Own Sweet Way."] © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 2, 2010 | Fresh Sound Records

Distinctions 4 étoiles Jazzman
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Jazz - Released March 24, 2017 | Fantasy Records

Hi-Res Booklet