PERFORMER: Bill Evans
CATALOGUE NO: 519 808-2
Bill Evans was the most significant and influential pianist to emerge in jazz after Bud Powell. By 1960 he had purged the clichés of bop from his style and had evolved an approach that was delicate without being fragile yet entirely his own.
He favoured slow to medium tempos, legato fingering and would allow clusters of notes to ring, using shafts of space to illuminate his intensely personal voicings. His trios were always more than a piano accompanied by a walking bass and a timekeeping drummer.
All three instrumentalists interacted and if by Trio ’65 Evans assumed a more dominant role it was because he had a surer sense of his own artistic identity. His improvisations stand on their own as complete creative entities; never a rush of ideas, they arrived as careful contemplations in which not a single note could be altered without upsetting the symmetry of the whole.
He could swing powerfully, as ‘Israel’ shows, but it was his treatment of ballads, ‘Round Midnight’ and a memorable performance of ‘If You Could See Me Now’, that were among the most moving, yet intense in all of jazz. Stuart Nicholson