miércoles, 19 de noviembre de 2008
Bill Evans at the Montreaux Jazz Festival (1968)
"Montreux Jazz Festival", "Casino De Montreux", Switzerland, June 15, 1968
Bill Evans piano
Jack DeJohnette drums
Eddie Gomez bass
:: Spoken Introduction
:: One For Helen
:: A Sleepin' Bee
:: Mother of Earl
:: Quiet Now
:: I Loves You, Porgy
:: The Touch of Your Lips
:: Embraceable You
:: Someday My Prince Will Come
:: Walkin' Up
"Evans' influence on the younger generation of pianists was growing, a good example of which being the emerging Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett who, in different ways, both carried the Evans imprint. This especially in the latter's work with saxophonist Charles Lloyd - with whom he was beginning to become very visible - which showed just how decisive that silent revolution in jazz piano harmony and the concept of the solo had been. Evans had introduced a long series of new devices in jazz piano: left hand chords without roots, and "close" harmony with frequent use of minor second intervals so as to increase the circulation of harmonics in the piano and amplify its vibration; substitutions between the basic chords of the piece by spotlighting new "hidden" chords. Other innovations include adaptation of the voicing to the acoustic needs of the various keyboard registers, and treatment of the piano in an orchestral way with the splitting of the six or seven-part harmony between the two hands. Last but not least, Evans made wide use of a touch able to stress the leading voice in a harmonized melodic line in the most refined tradition of the classical piano performance. Thanks to him, all this had penetrated the playing of jazz piano and the most sensitive of the new pianists had made of these devices an indispensable part of their expressive lexicon.
In the meantime, his one-time leader Miles Davis was giving birth to the so-called "electric revolution'. In 1968, in fact, he recorded Filles De Kilimanjaro and Miles In The Sky where he began to include the electric piano as a permanent element in his group. Out of all this arose a furious debate among Miles Davis fans who were divided in two, one part of which would turn their backs on him. But while Davis and other musicians riding his wave were beginning to experiment with inserting Funk and Rock rhythms and sounds in their music, Evans went on his own way undaunted. Trends had never attracted him much and he remained, therefore, deeply bound to his established musical material. Besides, over the course of his career, he would never renew his playing in terms of musical forms, but would change it as a consequence of an inner process, barely visible, yet very real. His ambition was always focused on the freedom implicit within the rules of improvisation - rules perhaps to be revised but not thrown out, his main objective being to delve deep into his own ideas. He was in love with the piano, which he defined in an interview with a French magazine in the early 1970s, as “the crystal that sings and reproduces the impalpable.” He was interested in one single true experimentation - that which would allow him to translate into sound his most profound emotions. While Davis was involved in everything new that was happening around him (“I don’t see anything wrong with electric instruments, as long as good musicians play them very well”), Evans went ahead with a relatively static repertoire and conceptual approach.
He returned periodically to Europe performing pieces recorded maybe some ten years earlier, always looking to extract new expressive content from them, or better, to inject them with a more and more personal feeling. His choices almost always responded to emotional stimuli and personal quest, and were sometimes quite cryptic and surprising. On the live album At The Montreux Jazz Festival of 1968, for which he won another Grammy Award, we find a Gershwin hit, Embraceable You, which Evans had never recorded before and would never do again; and another, The Touch Of Your Lips, which he had never recorded before in a trio, had appeared on Art Farmer's album Modern Art (of 1958). To find a previous recording of Mother Of Earl (a piece by his friend, percussionist and composer Earl Zindars) we have to go all the way back to an obscure recording with guitarist Joe Puma in 1957. In general, additions to the trio's repertoire were few and very sparingly introduced. Towards the end of the 1960s Evans was turning more and more to film tunes, predominantly love themes, clearly preferring the compositions of Johnny Mandel and Michel Legrand."
(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)