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Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Riverside

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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 4, 1985 | Verve

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects - The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1959 | Riverside

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1962 | Verve Reissues

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
This album came about through a fortuitous convergence of circumstances. Shelly Manne & His Men were appearing at New York's Village Vanguard, sharing the bill with the Bill Evans Trio. Getting Riverside's permission to let the pianist participate, Creed Taylor set up a session at Rudy Van Gelder's studio with Evans and Manne sharing top billing. Manne's bass player, Monty Budwig, made up the trio. This was a busman's holiday for Evans, who was freed from the musical parameters he had set for his then-current trio. The result is that his playing seemed lighter, freer, and more relaxed than it had for a while. The album kicks off with a jaunty version of Irving Berlin's "The Washington Twist" from the unsuccessful Mr. President, with Budwig sharing the honors with Evans as much as Manne. Manne spends most of his time driving Evans into more diminished and sharper playing than was usually Evans' wont. Another relatively unfamiliar Berlin work, "Let's Go Back to the Waltz," gives full reign to Evans' lyricism. The longest tune on the set is an audacious, almost lampooned version of "With a Song in My Heart" with light chordal phrasing that pretty much characterized much of the tone coming from this session. Listening to these three, it's clear that everyone was having a good time and simply enjoying being relieved of their duties with their regular combos, even if for just one day. © Dave Nathan /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Other than four piano solos from April 4, 1962, this set was pianist Bill Evans' first recordings after a hiatus caused by bassist Scott LaFaro's tragic death in a car accident. The first of two meetings on record in a duo format with guitarist Jim Hall, the collaborations are often exquisite. Both Evans and Hall had introspective and harmonically advanced styles along with roots in hard-swinging bebop. There is more variety than expected on the fine set with some cookers, ballads, waltzes, and even some hints at classical music. Recommended. [Some reissues include four bonus tracks, including two alternate takes and previously unheard versions of "Stairway to the Stars" and "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You."] © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 22, 2016 | Resonance Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Joining Bill Evans (piano) on Trio '64 -- his initial three-piece recording for Verve -- is the compact rhythm section of Gary Peacock (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). The effort spotlights their communal and intuitive musical discourse, hinging on an uncanny ability of the musicians to simultaneously hear and respond. All the more interesting, Evans had not interacted in this setting before, having most recently worked with Chuck Israels (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums). The personable opener, "Little Lulu," features the aggregate melodically molding individual and distinct sonic characteristics. Evans' nimble and emphatic syncopation is not only ably supported, but framed by Peacock's expressive runs and Motian's acute sense of timing. "A Sleeping Bee" is one of the collection's most endearing selections as the groove playfully scintillates surrounding some hauntingly poignant chord changes. Evans bandies back and forth with Peacock, the latter likewise providing a stellar solo. "Always" captures a similar effervescence as the instrumentalists ebb and flow in synchronicity. Since the December 18 session was held the week before Christmas 1963, they fittingly tote out "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," creating a minor masterpiece of post-bop from what could easily have started as a spontaneous seasonal suggestion. Noël Coward's "I'll See You Again" bears a brisk waltz persona, enabling the unit to fluently weave its offerings without obstructing the otherwise affective tune. Concluding Trio '64 is Rodgers & Hart's standard "Everything Happens to Me," with an unhurried tempo lingering just long enough to embrace the familiar refrain. Evans sparkles, gliding around Peacock's full-bodied basslines and Motian's solid yet restrained beat. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 9, 1967 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
For Bill Evans' second solo record of unaccompanied but overdubbed piano solos, he decided to simplify the concept used in Conversations with Myself (which had him playing three pianos) by only playing two this time. The program is brief, but Evans plays quite well throughout. In particular, his versions of Johnny Mandel's "Emily" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" are most memorable. A thoughtful and (despite the overdubbing) spontaneous-sounding set of melodic music. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1962 | Riverside

Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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 January 1, 2007 | Fantasy 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, 2015 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Bill Evans' Fantasy recordings of 1973-1979 have often been underrated in favor of his earlier work but, as this remarkable nine-CD set continually shows, the influential pianist continued to grow as a musician through the years while holding on to his original conception and distinctive sound. The collection has all of the 98 selections recorded at Evans' 11 Fantasy sessions, including nine numbers from a previously unreleased 1976 concert with his trio. In addition, Evans' appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio program is tacked on as a bonus and it is actually among McPartland's finest shows, a fascinating hour of discussion and music with Evans. Nearly all of the performances on this box (which includes duets with bassist Eddie Gomez and singer Tony Bennett, trio outings with Gomez and either Marty Morell or Eliot Zigmund on drums, and a couple of quintet sets with the likes of tenors Harold Land and Warne Marsh, altoist Lee Konitz, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Philly Joe Jones) is available individually on CD but Bill Evans' more passionate collectors will certainly want this definitive box. The only minus is Gene Lees' typically self-serving liner notes; he always seems to love to write about himself. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The title refers to the Michel Legrand piece performed twice on the date, and to the fact that pianist Bill Evans was on the verge of switching labels from Fantasy to Warner Bros. For his final Fantasy album, Evans, bassist Eddie Gómez, and drummer Eliot Zigmund perform memorable renditions of such songs as Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance," Johnny Mandel's "Seascape," and Burt Bacharach's underrated "A House Is Not a Home." Fine post-bop music from an influential piano giant. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Although all of Bill Evans's Riverside recordings have been reissued on a massive box set, those listeners who have not invested in that may very well be satisfied to pick up a few of his Milestone two-fers. This particular one reissues the influential pianist's very first session as a leader (which was originally on an LP titled New Jazz Conceptions), a trio date with bassist Teddy Kotick and drummer Paul Motian that also includes three unaccompanied piano solos (highlighted by the original version of Evans's most famous composition, "Waltz for Debby"). In addition, there is a full album of previously unreleased music: an alternate take of "No Cover, No Minimum," an unaccompanied version of "Some Other Time" from 1958 and four solo pieces that Evans cut in 1962, his first recordings after the tragic death of his bassist Scott LaFaro. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1967 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
What separated this from the average good Bill Evans date was the inclusion of Shelly Manne on drums, who inventively pushed and took unexpected chances. This was, I believe, Eddie Gomez' (bass) debut release with Evans (piano) and it was quite impressive. There were numerous takes at this session and judging from Chuck Briefer's liners it might be interesting to hear them released. © Bob Rusch, Cadence /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 25, 1988 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
A duet recording between pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall is one that should retain high expectations to match melodic and harmonic intimacies with brilliant spontaneous musicianship. Where this recording delivers that supposition is in the details and intricacy with which Evans and Hall work, guided by simple framings of standard songs made into personal statements that include no small amounts of innovation. Only two standards are included, and begin the program before the duo merges into some original material with some foraging off the beaten path, along with tender notions that should please anyone. If you hear the melody of the opener, "I've Got You Under My Skin," in your head, you'd never believe Evans and Hall could conceive of this reharmonized and essentially improvised take, full of interplay and invention. The classic waltz version of "My Man's Gone Now" is closer to a stock rendition, except that Evans wrings out every bit of somber emotion in a spontaneous manner. Hall's "All Across the City" -- by now a revered standard -- is heard here in an early version with languid, serene, and peaceful tones. Another similarly iconic standard is "Turn Out the Stars," mostly a solo piano work with Evans hinting at quotes of Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way." The most unusual choice is Joe Zawinul's "Angel Face," with a naturally delicate lead from Hall's guitar, while Claus Ogerman's "Jazz Samba" injects a bit of energy into this otherwise easygoing set, with Hall's basslines setting off some bright harmonic reinforcements. At only 32 and a half minutes, it's disappointing there are no bonus tracks and/or additional material for a CD-length reissue, but Intermodulation still remains a precious set of music from these two great modern jazz musicians. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The Bill Evans Trio's 1973 concert in Tokyo was his first recording for Fantasy and it produced yet another Grammy-nomination for the presentation. With bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, this LP mixes offbeat songs with overlooked gems, familiar standards, and surprisingly, only one Evans composition, the demanding "T.T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune Two)." Bobbie Gentry's "Mornin' Glory" was an unusual choice to open the performance and seems a bit conservative for Evans. The adrenaline picks up considerably with his midtempo waltzing take of Jerome Kern's "Up with the Lark" and a driving "My Romance." Evans also revisits the twisting Scott LaFaro tune "Gloria's Step," which showcases both Gomez and Morell. The closer, "On Green Dolphin Street," is given a slight bossa nova flavor and isn't nearly as aggressive as most of the pianist's live recordings of this popular standard. Although this CD doesn't rank among the Top Five live dates recorded by Evans, it should be considered an essential part of his discography. It seems odd that no additional music turned up for this reissue, as the concert is just under an hour long. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Concord Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
An obscure Bill Evans trio set (with bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones), On Green Dolphin Street went unissued until the mid-'70s, when the pianist decided that it was worth releasing as a fine example of Chambers' work. Very much a spontaneous set -- it was recorded after the rhythm section made part of a record accompanying trumpeter Chet Baker -- the group runs through a few standards such as "You and the Night and the Music," "Green Dolphin Street," and two versions of "Woody 'N You." Although lacking the magic of Evans' regular bands, the date has its strong moments, and the pianist's fans will be interested in getting this early sampling of his work. [Some reissues include a special bonus, the rare first take of "All of You" from the legendary Village Vanguard engagement by the 1961 Evans Trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian.] © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1971 | Columbia

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
On this seven-song LP, Bill Evans made his debut on electric piano, usually playing it in conjunction with his acoustic piano. Joined by bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, Evans performs seven of his stronger originals including "Funkallero," "The Two Lonely People," "Re: Person I Knew," "T.T.T.," and "Waltz for Debby." Although not as distinctive on the electric keyboard as he was on its acoustic counterpart, Evans sounds inspired by its possibilities and is heard in top creative form throughout the date. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1977 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Bill Evans was at his best playing solo piano; his touch, harmonic and rhythmic creativity, phrasing, and total technique were so accomplished that he needed ideal accompanists to excel in any trio or group situation. But when playing unaccompanied, he was free to explore any and all directions, developing and exploiting them without concern about other musicians following, fitting in, or expanding the territory behind or underneath him. There were only five cuts on this 1975 date, and the superb CD remastering illuminates Evans' brilliant solos. It offers a textbook example of how Evans opened, developed, and finished a composition; he examined it to the utmost, explored multiple options with flair, then concluded it in spectacular fashion. © Ron Wynn /TiVo