martes, 30 de septiembre de 2008

The complete Riverside Recordings (1956-1963)

Discos / Duración / Intrépretes

01. - 1956 - New Jazz Conceptions [72:32]with Teddy Kotick (bass); Paul Motian (drums)

02. - 1958 - Everybody Digs Bill Evans [65:37]with Sam Jones (bass); Philly Joe Jones (drums)

03. - 1959 - Portrait In Jazz [66:33]with Scott LaFaro (bass); Paul Motian (drums)

04. - 1961 - Explorations [69:17]with Scott LaFaro (bass); Paul Motian (drums)

05. - 1961 - Sunday At the Village Vanguard [65:48]with Scott LaFaro (bass); Paul Motian (drums)

06. - 1961 - Waltz For Debby [65:11]with Scott LaFaro (bass); Paul Motian (drums)

07. - 1962 - Moon Beams [68:39]with Chuck Israels (bass); Paul Motian (drums)

08. - 1962 - How My Heart Sings! [66:32]with Chuck Israels (bass); Paul Motian (drums)

09. - 1962 - Interplay [69:04]with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Jim Hall (guitar); Percy Heath (bass); Philly Joe Jones (drums)

10. - 1963 - At Shelly's Manne Hole [63:53]with Chuck Israels (bass); Larry Bunker (drums)

11. - 1963 - The Solo Sessions Volume 1 [66:10]Bill Evans (piano)

12. - 1963 - The Solo Sessions Volume 2 [70:40]Bill Evans (piano)

Portrait in Jazz (1960)

Bill Evans Trio:
Bill Evans (piano); Scott LaFaro (bass); Paul Motian (drums). Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York on December 28, 1959. Originally released on Riverside (1162).

1. Come Rain Or Come Shine 2. Autumn Leaves - (take 1) 3. Autumn Leaves - (mono, bonus track) 4. Witchcraft 5. When I Fall In Love 6. Peri's Scope 7. What Is This Thing Called Love? 8. Spring Is Here 9. Someday My Prince Will Come 10. Blue In Green - (take 3) 11. Blue In Green - (take 2, bonus track)


"A few months to set things up and the trio was ready for its first recording session. Evans had met LaFaro at an audition for Chet Baker a couple of years earlier. He had not been very favorably impressed at the time by LaFaro's rather effusive, show-offish nature. Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1936, he was, after all, still young. But when the two began to work together with Motian, Evans' respect for the 23-year-old bass player grew rapidly. “He and Paul and I agreed without speaking a word about the type of freedom and responsibility we wanted to bring to bear upon the music, to get the development we wanted without putting repressive restrictions upon ourselves,” Evans himself reported.

It is worth noting that the tendency towards a freer approach to trio playing, his idea of a sort of collective "three-way improvisation", came to Evans, at least in part, from his reflections on classical music; (remember that at that time the bass and drums usually had a pretty static role as simple support to the piano). In fact, as Evans noted,

“in a classical composition you don’t hear a part remain stagnant until it becomes a solo. There are transitional development passages. A voice begins to be heard more and more and finally breaks into prominence;” and, as if to prevent a possibly too sharp break with tradition, he added: “Especially, I want my work - and the trio's if possible to sing. I want to play what I like to hear. I am not going to be strange or new just to be strange or new. If what I do grows that way naturally, that'll be OK. But it must have that wonderful feeling of singing.”
Singing is a way of being still, we are reminded by Vladimir Jankelevitch, and the silence is itself a constitutive element in audible music. These profound truths are made real in the work of the Evans/LaFaro/Motian trio which, aside from Davis, Lester Young and maybe some coolsters like Lee Konitz, had few precedents in jazz. This music had always been extroverted, communicative and open to the world outside, but in the late 50s it seemed to be expressing a need to withdraw into the artist's most ineffable and interior world. Bill Evans, his music, and even his characteristic physical posture became a visual symbol of this trend: all curled up over the piano he looked like one trying to grasp the intimate nature of the instrument and his own as well.

After Kind Of Blue, Evans recorded with Lee Konitz and Jimmy Giuffre, took part in the recording of John Lewis' sound track for Robert Wise's film Odds Against Tomorrow, and recorded many times with Tony Scott. After one more recording with Lee Konitz’s tentette in October, Bill finally got into the recording studio with LaFaro and Motian on December 28th 1959. Evans, at slightly more than thirty years old, was about to begin surely the most important musical adventure of his entire artistic career.

Portrait In Jazz [Riverside RLP-1161; OJCCD 088-2] was the first of four albums that the trio were to make - a limited production but of the highest artistic quality, which was to influence whole generations of jazz musicians all over the world. The trio's innovative intentions were only partially carried out in Portrait In Jazz. Evans was aware, as were his partners, that “nobody at that time was 'opening up music like they were, letting the music originate from a beat that was more implied than explicit.” He had a gift for shaping music and a capacity to make every part of the improvisation spring consequentially from the previous one: an approach that the pianist asked his partners to extend to the total form of the piece. When it worked, when the three of them played like one single individual entity, the result was breathtaking. Autumn Leaves (second version) is an example of that success, as is What Is This Thing Called Love. Here the trio offers a glimpse into some completely new mechanisms: like when Motian ventures into audacious multi-rhythmical initiatives, with LaFaro strongly and profoundly accenting the pulse; or when, in the same piece, they experiment with the dynamic contrast between duet (Evans and LaFaro dialoguing while Motian stays silent) and fully active trio.

Portrait In Jazz contains some interpretive peaks that highlight Evans' more meditative and lyrical side and the profundity of what he had to say: Spring Is Here, above all. According to Wilfrid Mellers this piece retains the sound mood of Miles Davis. Hc observes that Evans' ability “to make melodic lines ‘speak’ is of extraordinary subtlety... and always the sensuousness leads not to passivity but to growth,” adding that on the album’s fast pieces “the rhythm zest provokes the song.” On Spring Is Here Evans’ piano breathes, and his emotion makes the instrument vibrate with a gentle, resonant sonority - as always, the consequence of the nature of the musical narration that he is improvising and never mere decoration or narcissism. Through a simple song, Evans talks about a part of himself, and the piano is his voice.
The performances on Portrait In Jazz are uneven from the point of view of the "simultaneous improvisation" approach, which had not yet developed at the time. The artistic rendition also doesn't always maintain the same level. Evans would later say, for instance, that the version of When Fall In Love on this album was one of the most incoherent and disconnected that he had ever recorded; and, in effect, upon careful listening, one discovers here and there some empty, somewhat ingenuous areas in the construction of the solo. Evans was notoriously demanding with himself and here he recognized some gaps in the logic of the solo that couldn't help but bother him.

The opposite was true for Peri’s Scope (in one of the plays on words which he loved to indulge himself in, Evans dedicated the song to Peri Cousins, his girlfriend at the time). The tune is a little masterpiece in improvisational compactness. There is no trace of evident interplay between the musicians, at least in the sense of a contrapuntal or melodic dialogue, but there is certainly a lot of swing and a great elegance here. Evans converses with himself; his solo an admirable example of that logical structuring and consequentiality, both main features and his principle objective in music. LaFaro, and Motian accompany Evans in the usual 4/4 time, but with such energy and joy, along with enormous precision, that a kind of precious carpet is woven upon which Evans' rhythmic inner feeling comfortably reclines. Evans displays a very innovative use of the left hand, which seems to move in perfect tandem with that of Motian playing the snare drum. This creates an imaginative, cheerful rhythmical counterpoint to the phrases of his right hand. So, in a little more than three minutes Peri’s Scope leaves an impression of vitality and pleasure in making music not frequently matched in Evans' musical production. In this luminous gem he seems to get back a little of that pleasure of carefree play rarely perceptible in his performances - the piece almost smiles.
Finally, in terms of Evans' trio work, Blue In Green should not be forgotten. This is the piece for which Evans had claimed paternity and which, for incomprehensible reasons, was and continues to be attributed to Davis. [emphasis mine]. Actually, Miles, before the Kind Of Blue session, had only given Evans the first two chords, from which the pianist spun the entire composition. In any case, in this trio version of the tune, he doubles the time twice, allowing LaFaro to move completely autonomously, both melodically and rhythmically. Apart from this number, however, the general atmosphere of the album does not sound as revolutionary as the trio's live performances a year and a half later at the Village Vanguard would. More than a year were to pass between the trio's first and second recordings."
(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)(thanks !!!)

Lee Konitz Live at the Half Note (1959)

February 24, 1959

Lee Konitz (as) Warne Marsh (ts) Bill Evans (p) Jimmy Garrison (b) Paul Motian (d)

Chet Baker - Chet (1959)

1. Alone Together 2. How High the Moon 3. It Never Entered My Mind 4. 'Tis Autumn 5. If You Could Only See Me Now 6. September Song 7. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To 8. Time On My Hands (You In My Arms) 9. You and the Night and the Music 10. Early Morning Mood

Chet Baker (tp) Herbie Mann (fl -1) Pepper Adams (bars -1/4,6) Bill Evans (p -1/4,6) Kenny Burrell (g) Paul Chambers (b) Connie Kay (d)
NYC, December 30, 1958

Chet Baker plays the best of Lerner & Loewe (1959)

1. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
2. I Could Have Danced All Night
3. The Heather On The Hill
4. On The Street Where You Live
5. Almost Like Being in Love
6. Thank Heaven For Little Girls
7. I Talk To The Trees
8. Show Me

Personnel: Chet Baker (trumpet); Zoot Sims (alto & tenor saxophones); Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); Herbie Mann (flute); Bill Evans, Bob Corwin (piano); Earl May (bass); Clifford Jarvis (drums).Recorded in New York, New York on July 21 & 22, 1959. Originally released on Riverside (1152). Includes original liner notes by Orrin Keepnews.Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1984, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).

Legrand Jazz (1958)

Bajo - George Duvivier (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B4) , Milt Hinton (tracks: A3, A5, B5) , Paul Chambers (3) (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3)
Bajo, Tuba - Major Holley (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B4)
Batería - Don Lamond (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B4) , Kenny Dennis (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3) , Osie Johnson (tracks: A3, A5, B5)
Flauta - Herbie Mann (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A6, B1 to B4)
French Horn - James Buffington* (tracks: A3, A5, B5)
Guitarra - Barry Galbraith (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3)
Harpa - Betty Glamann (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3)
Piano - Bill Evans (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3) , Hank Jones (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B4) , Nat Pierce (tracks: A3, A5, B5)
Saxofón [Alto] - Gene Quill (tracks: A3, A5, B5) , Phil Woods (tracks: A1, A3, A5, A6, B1, B3, B6) , Phil Woods (tracks: A3, A5, B5)
Saxofón [Baritono] - Teo Macero (tracks: A3, A5, B5)
Saxofón[Baritono], Clarinet [Bass] - Jerome Richardson (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3)
Saxofón [Tenor] - Ben Webster (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B4) , John Coltrane (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3) , Seldon Powell (tracks: A3, A5, B5)
Trombón - Billy Byers (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B4) , Eddie Bert (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B4) , Frank Rehak (tracks: A2 to A5, B2, B4) , Jimmy Cleveland (tracks: A2, A3 to A5, B2, B4, B5) , Jimmy Cleveland (tracks: A3, A5, B5)
Trompeta- Art Farmer (tracks: A3, A5, B5) , Donald Byrd (tracks: A3, A5, B5) , Ernie Royal (tracks: A3, A5, B5) , Joe Wilder (tracks: A3, A5, B5) , Miles Davis (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3)
Vibrafono - Don Elliot (tracks: A3, A5, B5) , Eddie Costa (tracks: A1, A6, B1, B3)

martes, 23 de septiembre de 2008

The Nearness of you - Helen Merril (1958)

1. Bye Bye Blackbird
2. When the Sun Comes Out
3. I Remember You
4. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise
5. Dearly Beloved
6. Summertime
7. All of You
8. I See Your Face Before Me
9. Let Me Love You
10. Nearness of You
11. This Time the Dream's on Me
12. Just Imagine

BILL EVANS just appears in:

Let Me Love You

When The Sun Comes Out

All Of You

The Nearness Of You

Just Imagine

Helen Merrill With Bobby Jaspar Quintet Bobby Jaspar (fl) Bill Evans (p) George Russell (g) Oscar Pettiford (b) Jo Jones (d) Helen Merrill (vo) NYC, February 21, 1958

domingo, 21 de septiembre de 2008

Bill Evans & Bob Brookmeyer - The Ivory Hunters Double-Barrelled Piano (1959)

1. Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf, Waller) 5:55

2. As Time Goes By (Hupfield) 6:58

3. The Way You Look Tonight (Fields, Kern) 7:41

4. It Could Happen to You (Burke, VanHeusen) 7:28

5. The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin) 5:58

6. I Got Rhythm (Gershwin, Gershwin) 8:34

Bill Evans, piano

Bob Brookmeyer, piano

Percy Heath, bass

Connie Kay, drums

On Green Dolphin Street (1959)

You and the Night and the Music
How Am I to Know?
Woody'n You - (take 1)
Woody'n You - (take 2)
My Heart Stood Still
On Green Dolphin Street
All of You - (take 1, take 1, stereo)

Bill Evans - pianoScott LaFaro - bass

Everybody digs Bill Evans (1958)

1. Minority
2. Young & Foolish
3. Lucky To Be Me
4. Night & Day
5. Epilogue
6. Tenderly
7. Peace Piece
8. What Is There To Say?
9. Oleo
10. Epilogue
11. Some Other Time (mono)

Bill Evans (p) Sam Jones (b -1,2,4,6,8,9) Philly Joe Jones (d -1,2,4,6,8,9)
RECORDED: NYC, December 15, 1958


"This place of solitude and of the unanswered question found searchingly beautiful expression in Young And Foolish, a very slow ballad that Evans recorded in trio on December 15, 1958, and which appears on the second album in his name Everybody Digs Bill Evans [RLP 1129; OJCCD 068]. The tenacious Orrin Keepnews had waited patiently for more than two years for this album, some 27 months having passed since the recording of New Jazz Conceptions. Evans had not wanted to record in those two years, not only because he had been very busy with Miles Davis but because "he didn't have anything particularly different to say." Only after interrupting his collaboration with Davis was he able to go back into the studio, for the second time as leader of his own trio, and with his own project. The partners he chose for the date were bass player Sam Jones and drummer Philly Joe Jones, for whom Evans had always stood in awe. As he was to say some years later: “He and Paul Chambers are two of the most underrated musicians in the history of jazz and much greater influences than they're given credit for.”
Young And Foolish was, in all probability, a piece that Evans chose not only for its attractive melody, but for its title and lyrics as well. The titles of many tunes that Evans played and recorded in his career seem, in fact, to reflect a sort of commentary or an opinion he had of himself. Other times they seem to ask questions or appear to have some relationship to the more intimate details of his life. Evans, the shy young pianist who always blamed himself for not being good enough - as Keepnews had observed - probably identified with the "young and foolish" of which the song spoke.

Evans the Artist was beginning to emerge in the round. His preference for a story-telling style in music found, in Young And Foolish, a first and important realization. Thanks to richly shaded dynamics, to a voicing of rare beauty and pertinence, and to a sense of "breath" closely linked with his voice-like "enunciations", Evans (re)composes the piece, turning it into a true song without words.

The piece becomes a sequence of scenes drawn together by a feeling of something that is going away, to be lost forever. His modulations not only give variety to the piece but underline the unfolding of the story itself. An essentially ordinary song becomes, in Evans hands, an event to remind us that, as once again the philosopher Jankelevitch maintained: “music is situated in the very depth of the life lived.”

Despite some bop pieces (Minority, Night And Day, Oleo) we still find on "Everybody Digs", the new and artistically important element here, when we compare it to "New Jazz Conceptions", is exactly that "discovery of silence". Two things converged on "Everybody Digs": Evans' now mature style, to the point where he was able to control, impose and live his expressive identity in a more valid way and with greater abandon; and his re-working of sounds and silences absorbed over the months he had spent with Miles Davis.

The three piano solos on the album seem to connect back to the three on the earlier "New Jazz Conceptions", but here everything sounds much more relaxed, evolved and original. Lucky To Be Me is treated with rare harmonic skill and, once again, is a piece Evans has chosen perhaps for its title and for its “story,” apart from the melody itself. On this number, interpretation and narration prevail over improvisation, and Evans also displays a range of harmonic solutions worthy of a top composer/arranger. The voicing appears more and more personal, linked not so much to jazz piano tradition as to the harmonic approach of classical 20th century European composers.

Peace Piece, on the other hand, is a case in itself whose well-known story is worth recalling. Evans was looking for an appropriate introduction to Leonard Bernstein's Some Other Time, when he decided to use the see-sawing swing of its two opening chords as a harmonic base for a series of variations. What is catching here is the fact that those two chords are closely related to those used by Chopin in his Berceuse. In truth, we can really sense the spirit of the great Polish composer hovering in Peace Piece, even though, as Gunther Schuller notes in his essay Jazz and Classical Music (included in Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz), Evans doesn’t sacrifice “the vitality of his improvisational approach” to that spirit.

Schuller, it should be remembered, was a champion of the so-called "Third Stream", a new music that would hopefully emerge from the fusion of the two dominant languages in music, jazz and classical. From this point of view, Evans did not fulfill what Schuller believed was his promise. Nonetheless, viewed in a broader sense, that fusion is there in Evans' production. It may not be in pieces that follow, more or less openly, the classical repertoire, as happens in Peace Piece. This fusion is actually found in Evans' music at the level of expression, not of "materials" used. In this respect the celebrated Peace Piece (in the final part of which Evans ventures into some very interesting polytonal fragments) seems artistically a bit less successful, for example, than some of his numerous improvisations on Nardis in his last years, in which he seems to summarize his entire musical experience - from jazz to Bach’s contrapuntal rigor, to Bartok’s sense of "logical" dissonance. Here he truly gives birth to a new music that goes beyond any genre distinction.

Epilogue is the third, very short piano solo on "Everybody Digs". A hymn built on a pentatonic sequence of notes, which closely recalls Mussorgsky's Promenade in Pictures At An Exhibition. Who knows, maybe this is an emerging of distant sound recollections from a time before Evans felt "young and foolish". Some years later, at the end of a concert at Town Hall in 1966 shortly after the death of his father, he would repeat this piece, which foreshadowed many works by Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea. He seemed to be following some unconscious itinerary - invisible to most in his performance and dedication to his father's memory of this unmistakably Russian-flavored hymn, which was not unlike many that he had listened to as a child.
Evans' music, therefore, conceals autobiographical content which is always advanced with extreme reserve. It often recounts stories or intimate impressions steeped in a profound "death wish", revealing a secret world encoded, perhaps, in a title, a play on words or in the text of songs interpreted through the filter of the pianist's intense approach. For instance, at a certain point, the words of Young And Foolish ask “Why is it wrong to be young and foolish? We haven't so long to be. Soon enough the carefree days, the sun-lit days go by.” Or even in Spring Is Here - which Evans was soon to record with LaFaro and Motian, soaring to one of those peaks in his art - the lyrics respond, alongside a slow, yearning and irresistibly questioning string of ascending notes, “maybe it's because nobody needs me;” and then further on, at a parallel point in the piece, “maybe it's because nobody loves me.” Was it because of this sense of abandonment, of futility, this feeling of being unloved, that the Spring was unable to "make his heart dance"?

This song of solitude and desperation (“all my singing is in my playing,” he said) stretches across all his artistic and interpersonal vicissitudes. It may seem almost incredible that a man as refined and intellectually gifted as Evans could have ended up a slave to narcotics from his early youth right up until his death. The profound causes, the psychological disturbances that determined this suicidal choice, his desperate refusal to have "normal", healthy, vital, humanly creative relations, gradually and increasingly seeped into his music. He was a good-looking, sharp-witted man, well over six feet tall, lean and athletic in build, and an excellent swimmer and golfer. But he never accepted himself, and this refusal of his own human reality runs through many of his most intense interpretations. His self-destruction, his human failure, were the price that he felt he had to pay for his artistic fulfillment."

(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)

viernes, 19 de septiembre de 2008

Modern Art - Art Farmer (1958)

1. Mox Nix
2. Fair Weather
3. Darn That Dream
4. The Touch Of Your Lips
5. Jubilation
6. Like Someone In Love
7. I Love You
8. Cool Breeze

Art Farmer Quintet Art Farmer (tp) Benny Golson (ts, arr) Bill Evans (p) Addison Farmer (b) Dave Bailey (d) Gigi Gryce (arr)
Nola's Penthouse Sound Studios, NYC, September 10, 11 & 14, 1958

Mox NixUnited Artists UAL 4007

Fair Weather-

Darn That Dream-

The Touch Of Your Lips-


Like Someone In Love-

I Love You-

Cool Breeze-
* Art Farmer - Modern Art (United Artists UAL 4007, UAS 5007; Blue Note CDP 7 84459-2)


"...Modern Art, which was further proof of how completely he had mastered the art of comping. It could be said that this whole period was the beginning of Evans' important work on silence. His interaction with Davis, the depth of the musical contents that Miles and the other members of the group expressed, had accelerated in him the ripening of an expressiveness in which pauses, the waiting and the tacit, questioning resonance seem more important than sound.

He never took his relationship with sound for granted; even when the situation called for his professional mastery only, when the musical project was not his own (as on the beautiful album with Art Farmer, in fact), he succeeded in speaking a language in which the more reserved his contribution seemed the more penetrating his playing became. A few bars played under one of the horns soloing, or a few more in his own solo, were enough to profoundly change the atmosphere, filling it with a both delicate and irresistible magnetism that sounded almost mysterious. Evans was there, tuned-in to the soloist, "speaking" with him, participating with him, but at the same time he was far away in a place all his own where there was no one else but him."

(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)(thanks !!!)

East Coasting - Charles Mingus (1957)

1. Memories Of You 2. East Coasting 3. West Coast Ghost 4. Celia 5. Conversation 6. Fifty-First Street Blues 7. East Coasting (Alternate Take 3) 8. Memories Of You (Alternate Take 3)

Charles Mingus - bass Jimmy Knepper - trombone Dannie Richmond - drums Shafi Hadi - alto & tenor saxophones Clarence Shaw - trumpet Bill Evans - piano


"East Coasting", recorded in August of the same year. The great bassist deeply admired Evans' ability to consider soloing on the piano a construction formally connected with themes initially set up by the horns, and not merely an exhibition of technical virtuosity for its own purposes. The respect that Evans had earned in the jazz environment had reached a high level by then. His essential, richly shaded and profound style had not escaped the attention of musicians used to keeping their acute ears to the ground in search of new and exciting things."

(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)(thanks !!!)

Charles Mingus Sextet

Clarence Shaw (tp) Jimmy Knepper (tb) Curtis Porter (as, ts) Bill Evans (p) Charles Mingus (b) Dannie Richmond (d)

Cincinnati, OH, August 6, 1957

646651st Street Blues, Pt. 1Bethlehem 11041, BCP 6019
646751st Street Blues, Pt. 2-
6468East CoastingBethlehem BCP 6019
6468-altEast Coasting (alt. take 3)Bethlehem Jazz Classic 30022
6469Memories Of YouBethlehem BCP 6019, BCP 6065
6469-altMemories Of You (alt. take 3)Bethlehem Jazz Classic 30022
6470West Coast GhostBethlehem BCP 6019
* East Coasting By Charles Mingus (Bethlehem BCP 6019)
* Various Artists - Golden Jazz Instrumentals (Bethlehem BCP 6065)
* East Coasting By Charles Mingus (Bethlehem Jazz Classic 30022)
* Charles Mingus - Street Blues, Pt. 1&2 (Bethlehem 11041)

"Bill tuvo que sustituir a Dave McKenna en el popular quinteto de Al Cohn y Zoot Sims en el Café Bohemia. Una noche de agosto, al llegar a casa a las 4 de la madrugada, encontró un telegrama: "¿Quieres grabar con Charlie Mingus hoy a las diez de la mañana?" Por algún motivo el pianista Wade Legge, del grupo de Mingus, no podía asistir a la sesión. Puede que la intervención de Evans en la pieza "Revelations" del festival de Brandeis, hubiera quedado grabada en la memoria de Mingus. A raíz de aquella experiencia, el pianista tenía una idea de lo que podía esperar. Se apuntó a la sesión (para Bethlehem Records) y leyó de primera vista las partituras. Como decía Gil Evans, Bill aprendía rápido.
El disco salió al mercado con el título de East Coasting, y no cabe duda de quienes son las estrellas de la grabación: a excepción de las dos baladas, la poderosa combinación de Mingus y Dannie Richmond da al disco una solidez que se mantiene durante todo el trabajo. El grupo, maravillosamente compenetrado, comulgaba con el concepto musical de su líder. Mingus era la chispa que encendía el ánimo de sus acompañantes. Gracias a aquel empujón, caa uno de los músicos bordaba sus solos sin alejarse de la pulsación del tema. Evans encontró una adecuada base emocional en algunos momentos de la grabación, y la aprovecho para dejar su huella.
El espaldarazo del trabajo del pianista vino cuando Mingus habló del tema "Conversation". "Evans no se limitó a sentarse al piano y tocar. Podría haberlo hecho y haber recorrido el teclado de arriba a abajo, porque tiene la técnica para hacerlo, pero empezó el solo a partir de lo que habían expuesto los vientos y siguió desde allí."
En "West Coast Ghost", la imaginación auditiva de Evans volvió a decirle que, en ese tema, era tan importante lo que tocara como la calidad de sonido de su instrumento, lo que le permite alcanzar aquí una sintensis ejemplar: las notas alargadas por efecto del pedal llegan a oídos del oyente como si de un lamento se tratara. Mingus estaba encantado con el trabajo de Bill, y fue un incondicional del pianista durante toda su carrera. "
(extraído del capítulo EL ACOMPAÑANTE de "Bill Evans, How my heart sings", Peter Pettinger, 1998, Yale university press, Traducción al castellano de Ferran Esteve)

The complete Gus Wildi Recordings (1957 -1959)

Personnel: Bill Evans (piano) featuring Bill Hardman, Charles Mingus, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Minion and Jimmy Knepper.

Tracks: 1. You Stepped Out Of A Dream 2. Love Letters 3. Ogling Ogre 4. How High The Moon 5. Idol Of The Flies 6. Avid Admirer 7. So What 8. Flamenco Sketches 9. Round Midnight 10. Memories Of You 11. East Coasting 12. West Coast Ghost 13. Celia 14. Conversation 15. Fifty- First Street Blues 16. East Coasting - alternate take 17. Memories Of You - alternate take 18. Scenes In The City - bonus track 19. Nouroog - bonus track 20. New York Sketchbook - bonus track 21. Duke's Choice - bonus track 22. Slippers - bonus track 23. Bounce - bonus track 24. Slippers (alternate take) - bonus track 25. Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You - bonus track 26. Close As Pages In A Book - bonus track 27. Irresistible You - bonus track

domingo, 14 de septiembre de 2008

George Russell - Jazz Workshop (1956)

George Russell - Smalltet - Jazz Workshop
March 3, 1956

1. Ye Hypocrite, Ye Beelzebub
2. Jack's Blues
3. Livingstone I Presume
4. Ezz-thetic
5. Night Sound
6. Round Johnny Rondo
7. Fellow Delegates
8. Witch Hunt
9. The Sad Sergeant
10. Knights Of The Steamtable
11. Ballad Of Hix Blewitt
12. Concerto For Billy The Kid
13. Ballad Of Hix Blewitt (Alternate Take)
14. Concerto For Billy The Kid (Alternate Take)

Art Farmer (tp) Hal McKusick (fl, as) Bill Evans (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Teddy Kotick (b) George Russell (chromatic d -1) Osie Johnson (woodblocks -1, d -2/5)


"In July of 1955 Bill moved to New York. The desire to get to work was there. He began to take courses in composition at the Mannes School of Music and recorded with some minor musicians. At the beginning of the following year the opportunity to make himself known to a wider range of musicians presented itself. He was invited by George Russell to play in a session with his Jazz Small-tet to be recorded on RCA. Russell, born thirty-three years earlier in Cincinnati, and originally a drummer (he had had to turn down a gig with Charlie Parker for reasons of poor health), had been formulating an innovative theory over the preceding years on the relationship between melody and harmony in jazz.

This new approach was based on a concept of pantonality - which he distinguished from atonality - and had been summarized in a text entitled TheLydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization (download pdf) . The idea of fusing the most specifically "black' aspects of Afro-American music with elements from the European musical tradition intrigued not a few musicians in those years of the mid-1950s. But Russell, thanks to an insightful musical intelligence and a healthy dose of creativity, succeeded in avoiding the traps inherent in this kind of intermingling. In fact, as many examples of the so-called Third Stream (the movement that claimed to fuse jazz with contemporary classical music) had demonstrated, this cross-pollination could easily generate monsters.

The personnel that Russell had planned for that first session on March 31st included Art Farmer, trumpet; Hal McKusick, alto saxophone; Barry Galbraith, guitar; Milt Hinton, double bass; and Joe Harris, drums - which meant for the 27-year-old Evans a much more prestigious company than he had been accustomed to. The session also represented an immense leap in quality with respect to Russell's compositions which, even today at a distance of more than forty years, retain a noteworthy complexity. They recorded four selections that day. Evans felt comfortable. He showed that he was in possession of exactly the background required to confidently follow the path traced by Russell in his composition; this means an extensive preparation in and exposure to classical music and, in addition, that sort of perseverance which, over the years, had helped him to absorb the Bop language, and later that of the so-called cool jazz (Tristano, Konitz).

He was more than ready to face the alternation of written parts with improvisations on pre-planned chord changes. He was allowed space for some solos and it seemed that he expected nothing less, exuding energy and even happiness in his playing. It is clear that he is "full" of jazz and that he was just waiting for the right opportunity to express himself. His solo in Ezz-thetic [based on the chord changes to Love for Sale] is rich in rhythmic vitality. The phrasing of the right hand recalls Horace Silver, of whom Evans was a passionate follower at the time, and he even quotes a couple of his typical phrases at the opening of the solo. But there is already a precise stylistic identity in this solo. We can recognize it, for example, in the masterful way with which he manages the relationship between left and right hand sounds.

In Ye Hypocrite, Ye Beelzebub Evans does an uproarious solo; the long, snakey lines of the right hand trace an unpredictable path of great harmonic imagination in the middle-low register of the keyboard. In this solo he completely quits using the left hand, which allows him to function like a horn with no need to be subject to the harmonically conditioning tyranny of the left hand. Here his style is reminiscent of Lennie Tristano, a musician whose skill in structuring the music and tracing lines had always charmed Evans; but the fluidity, the souplesse, the full and yet delicate tone are already, unmistakably, Evans'. About six months later the same combo, with Paul Motian replacing Harris, recorded another four selections. Among these that Concerto for Billy the Kid where Evans played a solo that shook jazz-listeners and musicians alike.

His phrasing in this celebrated studio performance is dense and compelling. Here and there we note the influence of Stan Getz, a saxophone player whom Evans greatly admired. But, once again, it is the rhythmic thrust that is amazing. After the rapid and demanding initial two-handed octave passages in the upper register of the keyboard that reveal the brilliant, sure technique of the not-yet-27-year-old pianist, Evans literally explodes into a gripping improvisation on the chord changes of I'll Remember April [i.e.: the chord changes for Concerto for Billy the Kid]. Evans proves here that he can really swing hard, and this enormous skill is soon to earn him notable credibility even among black circles, notoriously critical from this point of view.
(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)(thanks !!!)

New Jazz Conceptions (1956)

NEW JAZZ CONCEPTIONS - Bill’s first record under his own name.

1. I Love You
2. Five
3. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good
4. Conception
5. Easy Living
6. Displacement
7. Speak Low
8. Waltz For Debby
9. Our Delight
10. My Romance
11. No Cover, No Minimum (Take 1)
12. No Cover, No Minimum

Bill Evans - Piano
Teddy Kotick - Bass
Paul Motian - Drums


INTERVIEWER: "I want to test you, and this is a blindfold test...

Are you ready?.
Yes. I'm ready.

[interviewer plays a few bars on a tape machine of an Evans recording ]
Oh sure, yeah, I remember that, “I Love You” from the first album.

That’s many years ago.

Yeah, many, many years ago but I still enjoy that record.

Do you always listen to your own records?

Well, I didn't for many, many years. But then last couple of years I’ve been listening to my own records more and going all the way back, trying to learn something. Because I did things then that I don't do now and vice versa, and I, uh, I can hear myself now more objectively, as another person would hear me, as I listen to my early records. So I have been listening to myself more.

You did this record about 25 years ago?
That's’ right, that’s right. Yes.

From: BILL EVANS INTERVIEW from August 1980
Transcribed from the (MOLDE, NORWAY 1980) videotape by Jan Stevens

"Fruto de la casualidad, las sesiones de Bill durante 1956 se sucedieron de tal modo que tuvo que pasar constantemente, cual camaleón, del lenguaje del grupo de George Russell al de la orquesta de Tony Scott. Dejando de lado cuestiones de estilo, en todas sus intervenciones destaca, por su coherencia, un aspecto de la manera de tocar del pianista: incluso en las situaciones más espontáneas, no dejaba nada librado al azar, y siempre escogía las notas idóneas. Para el público, era como hallarse ante el intérprete original de cada pieza, algo a lo que Evans había llegado después de un largo proceso mental, más impresionante si cabe por la sensación de seguridad que daba.
Sin embargo, a sus 26 años, el pianista no era ni mucho menos una persona segura de sí misma, y esto se advierte en la manera de enfrentarse a New Jazz Conceptions, su primer disco como líder, y el primer trabajo de trío que se iba a asociar a su nombre: piano, contrabajo y batería. Fue preciso recurrir a un subterfugio para que el tímido músico se lanzara a la piscina.
Ésta es, aproximadamente la historia. Evans tenía una actuación con su viejo amigo el guitarrista Mundell Lowe y el contrabajista Herman "Trigger" Alpert, que grabó algunos temas con un magnetófono portátil Ampex. Lowe había grabado para Riverside, un nuevo sello independiente fundado por Bill Grauer, que se ocupaba de las cuestiones comerciales, y Orrin Keepnews, que hacía las veces de productor. Lowe sabía que Evans no estaba por la la labor de hacer una maqueta (demo), como era habitual, así que obligó a Grauer y a Keepnews a escuchar por teléfono la cinta de Alpert.
Keepnews y Grauer quedaron tan impresionados, a pesar del pobre sonido que les llegaba al auricular, que decidieron ir a escuchar a Evans en directo.
Tras asistir a unas cuantas actuaciones en el Village, la mayoría con Tony Scott, le ofrecieron un contrato que, si bien no contemplaba ninguna otra retribución adicional, le ponía sobre la mesa una oferta que daba cuenta de una astucia nunca vista en las grandes compañías. A Keepnews le costó convencer a Evans de que estaba preparado para grabar bajo su nombre, y a tres, a pesar de que el es artista quien ha de intentar, por lo general, vencer la resistencia del productor.
En aquella época, las pequeñas compañías de jazz ahorraban gastos grabando los discos en un solo día. Pero Keepnews hizo una excepción con Evans y le permitió disponer de dos sesiones:
NYC, September 18, 1956

I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)Riverside REP 118, RLP 12-223

Waltz For Debby-

My RomanceRiverside RLP 12-223
Los temas que grabó él solo al piano.
y luego:
Bill Evans (p) Teddy Kotick (b) Paul Motian (d)
NYC, September 27, 1956

I Love YouRiverside RLP 12-223, RLP 12-272

Five (theme)Riverside RLP 12-223


Easy Living-


Speak LowRiverside REP 118, RLP 12-223

Our DelightRiverside RLP 12-223

No Cover, No Minimum (take 2)-

No Cover, No Minimum (take 1)Milestone M 47063; Fantasy OJCCD 025-2
que completa la sesión
El pianista eligió a dos viejos compañeros del cuarteto de Tony Scott con los que se sentía a gusto: el contrabajista Teddy Kotick, y el baterista Paul Motian. Evans escogió el repertorio, y tenía una vaga idea de lo que iba a hacer en las tres breves tomas en solitario. Aquel álbum fue un auténtico hito, no sólo para el propio Evans, sino para la escena jazzistica dominante: era un disco variado y enérgico, e incluía cuatro temas compuestos por Bill.
El primero era Five escrito a partir de los acordes de "I´ve got rhythm". Un análisis subjetivo de esa inteligente composición nos lleva a compararla con un puzzle aritmético. Está escrita en 4/4, pero los primeros 16 compases lo monopolizan varios quintillos. Evans no había decidido aún cómo escribir los 8 compases de la sección central, algo más complejos, y que constaban de escalas descendentes de cuatro notas con una pausa entre cada serie. Como admitió Warren Bernhardt, amigo y alumno de Evans, "tocarlo era una putada". Estas secuencias de 4 notas descienden por terceras, un rasgo típico del estilo de la mano derecha del pianista, y suenan cinco veces en los primeros tiempos de cada uno de los compases del puente y cinco veces en el tercer y cuarto tiempo de los mismos. Sobre el papel, el tema es redondo; sobre el escenario, y como corresponde al sentido del humor de Evans, la composición parece más bien un acertijo musical. Con el tiempo, el pianista llevó el tema mucho más allá y solía usarlo para cerrar cada pase, aunque a veces tardaba únicamente medio minuto en tocar, a una velocidad endiablada, la melodía. Era su manera de decir: "Se acabo lo que se daba".
Una de las inquitudes musicales que siempre asaltaron a Evans estaba relacionada con el desplazamiento rítmico de las notas y de las frases. En el tema Displacement, pocas son, de hecho, las notas que caen a tiempo. La naturaleza inconexa y fragmentaria de la pieza invita a improvisar a partir de una sucesión de ideas breves y pegadizas, un concepto que se ve forzado por el stacatto de la mano izquierda, que parece apremiar los movimientos de la derecha. Dos años antes, Horace Silver había empleado estas figuras con Miles Davis. Silver y Evans nunca ocultaron la admiración mutua que se profesaban.
No cover, no minimum, era un blues "escrito" por Evans para la sesión. A menudo se ha dicho que Evans no se encontraba del todo cómodo tocando un blues, y él mismo así lo reconocía. La sencillez y la desnudez de ese lenguaje no eran compatibles por lo general con el talante musical del pianista. Con todo, en este tema hay algunos momentos intensos.
El cuarto tema original del disco es Waltz for Debby, uno de los tres que interpretó en solitario (...). Escrita dos años antes para su sobrina, se convirtió en un clásico del jazz desde que vió la luz, aunque Bill confesó años mas tarde su sorpresa por el hecho de que una pieza de juventud como aquella alcanzara tal reconocimiento. La interpretación que hace aquí es ortodoxa en otro sentido, y comparable a una postal musical, por ejemplo de Robert Schumann. Seis años mas tarde , a petición del autor, su amigo Gene Lees, escribió una letra conmovedora.
En el resto de los temas destacaba la intervención de Paul Motian, cuyo carácter extrovertido se complementaba a la perfección con la energía del pianista. La participación de Motian fue importante, porque en esa sesión empezó a gestarse la principal cualidad del trío de Bill Evans en el futuro: la apuesta por hacer una música de cámara entre tres instrumentistas en pie de igualdad. Teddy Kotick, por su parte, proporcionaba al grupo una base sólida, cumpliendo a la perfección con el papel tradicional del contrabajista, que no es otro que mantener la pulsación.
El sonido de Evans fue grueso y alegre, y tan sensible en las baladas como se lo permitían el instrumento y la acústica. En las yemas de los enjutos dedos del pianista se combinaban exhuberancia y precisión, y el cerebro que les enviaba las órdenes "componía en tiempo real", mezclando imaginación e intelecto sin prescindir de su lado mas bopero.
Evans siempre insistió en que había aprendido de todo el mundo, sobre todo de los instrumentistas de viento, pero aquí se aprecian algunas influencias muy determinadas.
Ya nos hemos referido a Nat Cole y a Lennie Tristano. Éste compartía a menudo cartel con Bud Powell, y rendía en esas ocasiones un homenaje personal a la influencia que había ejercido en él. Los solos de Powell, largos y enérgicos, también calaron en el joven Evans, como se puede apreciar a simple vista en este disco. Cuando le pedían a Bill que destacara un pianista sobre los otros, daba el nombre de Bud. En términos de estructura los solos de Powell transcurrían entre unas claras marcas de inicio y fin. Evans, que se formó como pianista en la época en que actuó con varias orquestas de baile, trasladó este truco a no pocos de sus temas.
Algunos de los oídos más exigentes del mundo del jazz ya habían saludado su trabajo, pero todavía tenía que llegar al gran público. New jazz Conceptions salió al mercado en enero de 1957. A pesar de las buenas críticas que recibió en Down Beat y en Metronome, sólo vendió unas 800 copias durante el primer año. Evans no alzó la voz. Lo único que le interesaba era seguir aprendiendo.
Años más tarde dijo: "Recuerdo que fui a New York dispuesto a jugármela, diciéndome a mi mismo: "¿Cómo debo afrontar la vertiente práctica de la vida de un músico de jazz que es ganarse el pan?". Al final, llegué a la conclusión de que lo único importante era la música, aunque tuviera que tocar en un armario. Si lo haces, siempre habrá alguien que abra la puerta y diga: "¡Eh, te estabamos buscando!"
(extraído del capítulo New Jazz Conceptions de "Bill Evans, How my heart sings", Peter Pettinger, 1998, Yale university press, Traducción al castellano de Ferran Esteve)

" (...) New Jazz Conceptions [Riverside 223(M); OJCCD 025.2], the first album that Evans recorded under his own name. It was recorded a few weeks before his solo in Concerto for Billy The Kid, and, who knows, maybe something of the great satisfaction he felt for having realized the first completely self-generated product of his musical life, ended up in the overwhelming spirit of that famous solo. It is true that, regardless of the increased faith in his skills gained with the recording of New Jazz Conceptions, it did not come about without doubts and insecurities. Orrin Keepnews, owner of the then newborn Riverside label, remembers that “it took a lot to convince him that he was ready to record, which is the opposite of what usually happens.” (It had been guitarist Mundell Love, occasional partner of the pianist during their college years in Louisiana and very much impressed by him, who had got Keepnews to listen to a tape of Evans over the phone). So, where did all these doubts come from? Evans seemed to be insecure about whether he had anything to say or not, and in need of someone to acknowledge his talent - something which probably went back to his childhood - but at the same time his playing expressed a deep strength, an unconscious impulse to reveal his inner self in sound.

Here and there in some of the selections on this album there are hints of a sort of childlike wonder at his own skill. In fact, the very Tristano-like atmosphere and harmonic meandering of Tadd Dameron’s Our Delight shimmers with the joy of someone who has discovered with satisfaction “how this improvisation toy works.”
On Speak Low Evans' touch is trumpet-like. The notes sound rounded and staccato and he seems to be playing as a sort of challenge with himself. He even repeats some phrases almost as if to reconfirm to himself that it was really him who had been improvising them.
We find on New Jazz Conceptions all the emotion of the first-timer called upon to show what he's made of Even the three very short piano solos on this LP echo this both tense and enthusiastic atmosphere. The Ellington-esque I Got It Bad is expounded with wide-ranging chords in open harmony, making of the piano a veritable big band and recalling the broad concert style of Art Tatum. The tender Waltz For Debby, written a couple of years earlier for the daughter of his beloved brother Harry, also has a somewhat bitter sound, a far cry from that dancing softness that, over the years, would make of this piece a sort of manifesto of Evans' poetics. A great vehemence, tempered as always with elegance, permeates this first Bill Evans album, thanks also to the generous contributions of Teddy Kotick and Paul Motian. This encounter with this drummer who was to play such an important role in Evans' artistic future was not actually the first one. About one year earlier, in fact, the two had happened to work together. “I first met Bill Evans at an audition in New York”, Motian recalls, “It was for a tour with Jerry Wald, a clarinet player who had had some success with a big band and was now organizing a sextet for a small East Coast tour. Even before Bill sat down at the piano, I knew he could play. I overheard someone say, 'That's Bill Evans from Plainfield, New Jersey. He's supposed to be real good.”

On close inspection, New Jazz Conceptions offers only a few of those innovative elements that, two or three years later, would make Evans one of musicians' and critics' most listened-to pianists, to the point of considering him among the most significant representatives of a certain white, intellectual, artistically engagee avant-garde.

Why then did the clever and careful Keepnews venture such a demanding title for the first trio album of this “shy and studious looking young pianist?” In reality, the jazz market of 1956 was still dominated by the reverberations of the so- called "West Coast jazz.” The echoes of Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, or those of Dave Brubeck who, a couple of years before had driven young American students wild, were still being felt. So Evans' music, with his language deeply rooted in bop and in its subsequent development cool jazz, sounded paradoxically new for its time. His originality had not yet been extended to the concept of the trio. In fact, on this first album of his we find no trace of that 'interplay', of that equal partnership of the trio members that would appear some years later in his celebrated collaboration with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. Actually, he seemed to be more concerned with the widening and updating of the trio pianist's lexicon. The technique of harmonizing (see his Displacement or a standard like My Romance) sounds totally innovative. In the first of these two, Evans seems to think like an arranger voicing a given melody for several sections, taking care to avoid the so-called "doublings" (the same note played by more than one instrument) that impoverish the general resonance of the orchestra.

On My Romance Evans embellishes the harmony with the left hand playing a kind of "contrapuntal melody” - a procedure he owed to his assiduous exposure to classical European tradition, in particular to Romantic and late-Romantic piano music. In addition to these perceptible aspects, "New Jazz Conceptions" bears the decided trademark of an artist who had already made of jazz and improvisation a “how,” a manner of expression, instead of a “what,” or series of formulas.

“If it were a 'what' it would be static, never growing,” he would later observe insightfully. Keepnews, therefore, had been right, when he pointed out in the album’s liner notes which he himself wrote, that Evans was not just a promising artist. He, in fact, as opposed to many young musicians of the time content to simply imitate the greats by helping themselves to their vocabularies, already had “his own, distinctive voice,” and so he had no need to rely on someone else's vocabulary. Evans, in reality, was saying something new simply because he was trying to tell 'his self', winding up a sort of unwitting innovator.”

Two of Evans' compositions on New Jazz Conceptions, the aforementioned Displacement and Five, foretell an important aspect of his piano approach: cross-rhythms - a feature of his piano style not to be underestimated. In Displacement the whole first part of the theme uses rhythmic accents which do not coincide with the beats. The regular rhythmic flux, crossed by another "oblique" rhythmical line, creates such tension that, at a certain point, it leads to an unavoidable tempo change (from 4/4 to 3/4). This alternating of even/odd tempos was to be a rather frequent aspect in Evans' music, both in his original compositions (Peri-Scope) and in his re-workings of old standards (Someday My Prince Will Come). Five is so-named because its melody presents a characteristic counterpoint of five notes per bar contrasting with the usual 4-beat tempo. This "5 against 4" creates a curious "limping" effect that, in the middle section of the piece, turns into a sort of giddy, circular dance. This piece would later become, especially during the 1960s, the signature tune at the end of many performances by the Evans trios.
(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)(thanks !!!)