Bill Evans

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LABELS: Columbia
WORKS: The Bill Evans Album
PERFORMER: Bill Evans (p, elec-p); Eddie Gomez (b); Marty Morrell (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 480989 2 (distr. Sony Jazz)
By 1971, when this album was recorded, Bill Evans was widely acknowledged as modern jazz’s most influential pianist. A warmly romantic player, his mastery of reharmonisation, melodic creativity and rhythmic flexibility has touched every pianist of significance in contemporary jazz. Here Evans performs a set of his own compositions, of which one, ‘Waltz for Debby’, is a jazz standard, while the rest, including ‘Sugar Plum’, ‘Re: Person I Knew’ and ‘Comrade Conran’ have a profundity and elegance that place Evans among the finest composers in jazz. Evans’s trios are always a great deal more than a piano accompanied by bass and drums. Instead they are collaborations; three musicians inventively and sensitively interacting together in a way that contrasts with the explicit straight-headed style of, say, an Oscar Peterson or a Bud Powell. Here subtlety is the goal; even Evans’s use of electric piano is done with taste, particularly when combining the tone colours of the electric and acoustic instruments during some improvisations. A much neglected album (this is its first release in Europe) by a true jazz great. Stuart Nicholson