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Jazz - Released October 7, 1997 | Verve Reissues

While its sheer bulk negates its interest to a general audience, The Complete Bill Evans on Verve is an essential library piece for any serious jazz fan or historian. Spanning 18 CDs, 269 tracks and 21 hours, the box set includes all of Evans' recordings for the label between 1962 and 1969, including 19 albums, two previously unreleased albums and 98 previously unreleased tracks. During these years, the pianist made some of his greatest music, including his legendary Village Vanguard sessions, and the set charts all of his changes, as he plays with his trio and as a solo artist, as well as a rare session with a rhythm quartet and strings. While the set itself could be a little more user-friendly -- it's encased in a steel box, with a 160-page booklet and an 18-disc fanpack on separate shelves -- the music itself is nearly flawless and nearly essential for most serious jazz fans. ~ Leo Stanley

Jazz - Released July 31, 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

Jazz - Released November 5, 1996 | Milestone

This two-LP set from 1973 combined together the two earlier LPs Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby plus the previously unheard "Porgy," 13 selections recorded during the final appearance by pianist Bill Evans' Trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Since all of the music (plus seven other selections that were released for the first time in 1984) have been reissued on CDs, this two-fer's value has dropped a bit through the years but the performances (which feature the three musicians almost operating as equals and are particularly notable for LaFaro's innovative playing) are still timeless. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released January 1, 1960 | Bill Evans Estate Music, LLC


Jazz - Released April 22, 2016 | Resonance Records

Distinctions Best New Reissue

Jazz - Released June 12, 2012 | Resonance Records

There have been many posthumous releases featuring various Bill Evans trios since the pianist's death in 1980, but Live at Art D'Lugoff's Top of the Gate is a cut above most of them for several reasons. First, it documents Evans' trio with bassist Eddie Gomez (who had been playing with him since 1966) and drummer Marty Morell in the early weeks of this band's existence. Secondly, the session engineer, George Klabin, got permission from Evans' manager Helen Keane to record the performances for his radio show, and though he didn't get an opportunity to do a soundcheck prior to the start of the gig, his excellent mike placement and adjustments on the fly capture the intimacy of the trio, without distortion and with very little chatter from the often noisy Manhattan crowds of the late '60s. Finally, the interpretations of several of the songs, all known to fans familiar with Evans' repertoire, in several cases represent an early live trio recording or one of the earliest recordings of certain songs. The fact that the trio was new matters little, the chemistry developed quickly between the three musicians as a unit and Evans is buoyed by Gomez's inventive basslines (it's little wonder he remained with the pianist for over 11 years), and Morell's light touch on drums and subtle brushwork. Several of the numbers are repeated in both sets, including driving takes of "Yesterdays," melodically rich treatments of "'Round Midnight," and two buoyant renditions of "Emily." Evans' fans will delight in his introspective, somewhat disguised arrangement of "California, Here I Come," the dazzling workout of "Autumn Leaves," and the magical romp through "Someday My Prince Will Come." If the music isn't enough, the detailed liner notes as to how the recordings came to be made, along with commentary by Nat Hentoff, Gary Burton, Eddie Gomez, Marty Morell, and others, in addition to period photographs of the artists and the club's interior, make it a complete package, not some carelessly packaged collection of previously unknown performances. One can only hope that Resonance label owner George Klabin recorded many other shows at the Top of the Gate and is able to gain the rights to issue them. This two-CD set will be considered essential by Bill Evans collectors. ~ Ken Dryden

Jazz - Released April 19, 2019 | Resonance Records


Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Riverside

Bill Evans cut a slew records for Riverside and Fantasy. His earliest sides were for Riverside between 1956 and 1973 before leaving first for Blue Note, then for a lengthy stay at Verve, and another at Warner. He signed to Fantasy in 1973, which at that time, owned the Prestige, Milestone, and Riverside catalogs; he remained there until 1977. This 25-track, double-disc set is culled from both periods. Disc one contains cuts from his earliest trio dates, with drummer Paul Motian and Teddy Kotick or the amazing Scott LaFaro on bass from the albums New Jazz Conceptions, Portrait in Jazz, Explorations, and the live Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard. Interspersed is the solo "Peace Piece" from Everybody Digs Bill Evans, and a 1959 trio version of "Woody 'N' You" by Evans with Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, which wasn't released until the mid-'70s. There's also the killer version of "Know What I Mean" for a 1961 Cannonball Adderley-led date for the album of the same title. The first disc wraps up with cuts from his third trio with Motian and bassist Chuck Israels, from the albums Moon Beams and How My Heart Sings, as well as one from the famed Interplay set with Freddie Hubbard, Jim Hall, Jones, and Percy Heath. So far, so good; these selections are ones Evans' fans will be familiar with and provide a fine introduction, though aficionados might argue track choices. Disc two is where it gets dicey. Though it opens with three more cuts from the early '60s, there is a ten-year break between the trio dates from 1963-1973. Evans' way of considering the possibilities of the piano trio had changed considerably by the latter period, and his harmonic focus had been deeply influenced by modern classical music, even when playing standards. The remaining tracks jump all over the place and don't provide a sense of continuity in his playing or composing. Arguably, the most satisfying things from the '70s here are his composition "Re: Person I Knew" and Steve Swallow's "Eiderdown," with saxophonists Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz. The programming by producer Nick Phillips feels schizophrenic and scattered, though it didn't come across that way album to album. This isn't to say what's on disc two isn't representative, but whether it's "definitive" is another matter. ~ Thom Jurek

Jazz - Released September 30, 1994 | Lipstick

"...These songs are more of the rap realm than of the jazz genre....hip shakin' groovin' material..."

Jazz - Released March 10, 2017 | Riverside

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Jazz - Released July 6, 2018 | Acrobat

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Jazz - Released March 2, 2018 | nagel heyer records


Jazz - Released May 19, 1986 | Verve Reissues


Jazz - Released June 15, 1998 | Verve Reissues


Jazz - Released January 1, 1967 | Verve Reissues

Philly Joe Jones was a member of the Bill Evans Trio for a short time in 1967 but none of his recordings with the pianist were released at the time. This two-LP set from 1982 features the pair (along with bassist Eddie Gomez who had recently started his own longtime association with Evans) in superb form. Jones consistently lit a fire under the pianist and, even though Bill Evans was never just an introspective ballad pianist (which became his stereotype), he does play with some unaccustomed ferocity on several of these selections. The 71 minutes of music feature strong versions of three of Evans' originals (including "Turn Out the Stars") plus a dozen standards, highlighted by "You're Gonna Hear From Me," "Gone With the Wind" and the unlikely "California Here I Come." Well worth searching for. In September 2004, Verve reissued the album in a limited edition, 24-bit remastered CD. Where the original disc sounded thin in places -- as it is a live recording -- the remastered version sounds consistently full and warm throughout. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released August 24, 2004 | Verve Reissues


Jazz - Released August 6, 2002 | Verve Reissues


Jazz - Released March 22, 1994 | Verve Reissues


Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Blue Note Records

The fact that Bill Evans' years as a Miles Davis sideman had so positive an effect on him is evident on The Alternative Man -- an unpredictable fusion date that, although overproduced at times, is full of spirited blowing and adventurous composing. Ranging from the reggae-influenced "The Path of Resistance" to the addictive "Let the Juice Loose!" to the angular "Jojo," Evans' material is consistently impressive. A Michael Brecker disciple but definitely his own man, Evans tends to be robust and aggressive on tenor and more reflective on soprano. Guest John McLaughlin (electric guitar) is characteristically persuasive on the poetic "Flight of the Falcon." ~ Alex Henderson

Jazz - Released February 23, 1993 | Verve Reissues