01 - I Do It for Your Love
02 - Quiet Now
03 - Noelle's Theme
04 - My Romance
05 - I Loves You Porgy
06 - Up With the Lark
07 - All Mine (Minha)
08 - Beautiful Love
01 - Re: Person I Knew
02 - Gary's Theme
03 - Letter to Evan
04 - 34 Skidoo
05 - Laurie
06 - Nardis
07 - Interview
Bill Evans (p) Marc Johnson (b -1/7,9/14) Joe LaBarbera (d -1/7,9/14)
"From that August 1979 on, in fact, we see his gradual and complete rediscovery of music, but the energy in that new spurt of growth would be inversely proportional to how much he cared about his own life, which was rapidly slipping into decline. The trio with Johnson and LaBarbera made its European debut in November of that same year. A couple of months earlier, on the occasion of his son Evan's fourth birthday, Bill had composed a tender piece for which he had also written the bitter-sweet words. The affectionate and detached Letter To Evan was performed many times along the tour, one concert of which was recorded and released on the two LPs The Paris Concert, Edition One & Edition Two and received with great enthusiasm by fans new and old. Curiously, Evans was being "rediscovered" in those years by a large number of younger listeners who had begun to tire of rock music and who were beginning to get interested in his music, having heard him perform at various European festivals."
The trio with Johnson and LaBarbera evolved rapidly. Bill was satisfied and proud of the extremely fast progress his two partners were making, and of how in tune they were with his musical world. But he was beginning to have serious problems with his health. For some time now, and probably increasingly so following his brother's tragic death, he had been using cocaine, and this was having repercussions on his way of playing, among which a strong tendency to rush the tempo (something of which he was completely aware, according to what he once said to LaBarbera).
In fact, on his final recordings, his solos were frenetic at times and lingered at the highest register of the keyboard. Regardless of all this, his creative energy was propelled by a new impetus, and he began once again to compose extensively. The structures he used were extremely varied, but the prevailing approach was one that we might call “nuclear", in which the same brief sequence of notes and their rhythmic layout is repeated many times in a harmonically modulating development.
This is the case with the yearning Your Story, a piece in which the music is both a confession and an invocation. Here, thanks to his masterful use of enharmonic modulation, Evans tells a true story of regret and desperation; a vast and hopeless "why?", repeated and then repeated again, knowing that there will never be an answer. He also began to perform Nardis again, repeating it at almost every concert. The version he played in Paris, and which appears on the The Paris Concert Edition Two is a remarkable one. The long piano solo he improvises on the structure of this piece, whose Eastern flavor has always held a special attraction for him, becomes an amazing recapitulation of all the elements that have contributed to his piano style, of everything that he has ever loved in music. Shades of classical music (Khachaturian, Rachmaninoff, his favorite Russian composers), harmonic derivations from Tristano an entire piano tradition ranging from Romanticism to the 20th century and jazz are fused in this Nardis, something which has no antecedents in either jazz or in the classical music tradition.
Without giving up the structure, thereby remaining anchored to a tonal approach, Evans succeeds in escaping from it to create a series of sound forms in which constructive intelligence and pathos, mind and heart are no longer separate. When, after a series of variations, Johnson and LaBarbera join him, the audience understandably explodes in the joyous applause of those who have been led across unknown and beautiful places never before seen. Thus Nardis became a kind of message that Evans was sending out to everyone in each of his final concerts. His whole personal story is here, in this series of inventions and combinations: he seems to be posing the music one more question, whose answer is the certainty of his own creativity. This re-discovered faith shines through in the whole of this last phase.
The collaboration of the highest caliber offered him by Johnson and LaBarbera was never routine and brought him back that tension and passion for the musical quest with which he had peaked twenty years earlier at the time of his unparalleled collaboration with Motian and LaFaro: “This trio is very much connected to the first trio ... I feel that the trio I have now is karmic.” Having previously been heavily involved in Zen, and also due to his Russian Orthodox background which had given him a natural aptitude and sensitivity for the metaphysical and spiritual, he felt that having these two young musicians alongside him was a sign of destiny, of the "circularity' of things and their inexplicable propensity for moving according to a script already written.
Evans was drifting by now, no longer resisting his own karma, in which the key role was being played by his powerful subconscious death-wish. With his adventurous piano solos in Nardis he was confirming what many years before clarinet player Jimmy Giuffre had said of him: “Bill Evans is a greater musician than Charlie Parker;” and to clarify so surprising a statement to his incredulous listeners he added: “There is an area up here where musical categories do not exist. This area isn’t only jazz, or European music, classical or anything else. It's just music, great music which cannot be categorized. That's what Evans plays.”
(Bill Evans: Ritratto d’artista con pianoforte/Bill Evans: The Pianist as an Artist.Enrico Pieranunzi, Rome 1999, Stampa Alternativa)