Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from his new liner notes): “This turned out to be the easiest Bill Evans record session I was ever involved in. The trio's initial working repertoire consisted entirely of material that he wanted to record but had not yet attempted; I probably would have preferred having more than two originals, having not yet fully realized that his ability to reconstruct and revitalize old and often over-familiar standards was one of his more important contributions to the jazz vocabulary.”
One of the two most important associations in the early development of the incredible talent of Bill Evans was undoubtedly his nine-month 1958 stay with the Miles Davis Sextet that also included John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. The other was the year-and-a-half span in which Scott LaFaro was the bassist in Bill's newly-formed trio and they developed their remarkable creative rapport, working towards what Evans termed "simultaneous improvisation." Portrait in Jazz was the first of four albums by the Evans/LaFaro/Motian team; in it can clearly be heard the exciting sound of new ideas being born.
This Canadian concert was performed shortly before drummer Marty Morell’s departure, and therefore, boasted a well-rehearsed unit. Before Eliot Zigmund’s arrival, Evans would make a duo album with Eddie Gomez entitled Intuition. The concert issued here was one of two performances recorded during that engagement, although not a single tune was played twice. The other concert has been issued on CD under the title of Blue in Green. Our concert, taken from a radio broadcast, has been long unavailable and appears here on CD for the first time ever. As a bonus to this rare concert, we have added the soundtrack from a TV show featuring the same Bill Evans trio, recorded in New York on September 17, 1972.
This LP comes from a live 1975 concert by the Bill Evans Trio, which was broadcast by Radio Suisse in Switzerland. The pianist is in superb form, joined by longtime bassist Eddie Gomez and newcomer Eliot Zigmund on drums. The sound is excellent, without the annoying announcers or distortion, so this release could have very well been produced from the master tape itself. The set is wide-ranging, including both recent and older compositions by Evans, "Gloria's Step" (the best-known work by former Evans sideman Scott LaFaro, who died far too young), along with standards like a buoyant "My Romance." The leader's treatment of his ballad "Turn Out the Stars" is rather upbeat, while his somewhat avant-garde composition "T.T.T.T." (also known as "Twelve Tone Tune Two") is a modern masterpiece. Perhaps the greatest surprise was Evans' inventive treatment of pop singer Bobbie Gentry's "Morning Glory."
This 2CD set features the brilliant pianist Bill Evans with bassist Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera on drums live in concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 27, 1979.
A great deal of music by this trio has been released and I am not familiar with most of it, but the music on this CD is so good that I doubt there are many recordings of this group that are significantly better. If you like the 2 volumes of the Paris Concert you will like this. In fact I think it is a bit superior to those recordings.
Orrin’s commentary (from his new liner notes): “I began constructing the 1960 definitive presentation of [Wes] Montgomery by recognizing the need to keep things as clear-cut and uncomplicated as possible. There were at least three unique aspects to his performing style: he played with his thumb, never using a pick… and his solos almost invariably included two elements routinely referred to as ‘impossible’—his use of octaves and of pianistic block chords. Self-taught (his first ‘lesson’ had involved heavy listening to Charlie Christian records) and never able to read music notation of any kind, he somehow possessed an unfailing command of the blues and of ballad tempo and was an impressive composer.”
Conventional wisdom, which in this case may be right, holds that Bill Evans' storied career peaked on June 25, 1961, a date that yielded two live records, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby, the final two documents of Evans' first, and best, trio, with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. In the two years he'd been playing with Evans, LaFaro had opened up new possibilities for the jazz bass, playing with a harmonically oblique, melodically flexible style that was, at the time, unprecedented. Ten days after this record was made he died, just 25 years old.