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Justin V

An Obscure Bill Evans Tribute Album

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Well, I've never seen it mentioned, at least. I found it for $2.50 in a local shop last week. It is called Bill Evans: A Tribute and was released on Avion Records in 1992. What makes the record, which was produced by Helen Keane, interesting is the sheer number of outstanding pianists paying tribute to Evans. Over a series of 4 sessions in 1982, these pianists each recorded a solo track for the album: George Shearing, Richie Beirach, Teddy Wilson, Warren Bernhardt, John Lewis, Dave McKenna, Herbie Hancock, Joanne Brackeen, Jimmy Rowles, Dave Frishberg and McCoy Tyner!

Is anyone else familiar with this recording? Can you imagine if Mosaic put together a box of alternate takes or bonus tracks? i would've loved to have been a fly on the wall (or baby in the control booth, given the year) for these sessions. I can't help but think that such a gathering nowadays would be preserved in video format as well. For me, it seems especially poignant having older musicians such as Teddy Wilson, Jimmy Rowles, John Lewis and George Shearing on hand alongside musicians who were approximately Evans's age and younger. At any rate, it's a fine sampler of some of the best jazz pianists performing solo.

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I have the double LP, haven't listened to it for a long time, just pulled it off my shelves the other day, and read the notes - haven't listened to it yet. It was on Palo Alto, I believe. It was the brain-child of Dr. Herb Wong who was co-producer and more responsible for the recording than Helen Keane.

Edited by John Tapscott

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I have the double LP, haven't listened to it for a long time, just pulled it off my shelves the other day, and read the notes - haven't listened to it yet. It was on Palo Alto, I believe. It was the brain-child of Dr. Herb Wong who was co-producer and more responsible for the recording than Helen Keane.

After ripping it, I noticed a different cover for it in my Google Play library with additional musicians' names. According to Ken Dryden, the original LP version featured tracks by Chick Corea, Andy LaVerne and Denny Zeitlin, as well as session photos and a "warm remembrance" by Helen Keane, all of which were dropped for the CD reissue. What a shame.

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I have it too:

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After the untimely death of Bill Evans in 1980, an impressive tribute album was recorded, one of the first to appear of the more than 50 tribute albums up to now. Herb Wong, producer and jazz writer, and Helen Keane, producer and livelong manager of Bill Evans put together an all-star line-up of pianists, perhaps the most impressive collection of keyboardists ever assembled for a single project. Fourteen artists gathered to record solo tributes to the late Bill Evans in the spring and summer of 1982, some doing tunes by Evans and others songs associated with him, but each in their own style. This resulted in the album Bill Evans: A Tribute. This recording, released initially in 1983 as double LP on the former Palo Alto Jazz label, quickly disappeared from the market and was later reissued in 1991 as CD (TBA-8028). On the backside of the cover: "Proceeds from the sale of this album will be allocated to the Bill Evans Jazz Piano Scholarship Fund, to be administrated by Palo Alto Records, Keyboard Magazine and the National Association of Jazz Educators".

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Thanks for posting that, Tom. How long are the tracks by Corea, Zeitlin and LaVerne? I wonder how they made the decision as to what tracks wouldn't make the cut for the CD release. I know that earlier CDs didn't run up to 80 minutes, which is the current standard, but the CD edition only clocks in at around 61 minutes.

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I'm listening to this album (the 2 LP version). To aswer Justin V's question from 2013 the tracks are not longer than that the total playing time is a few seconds short of 80 minutes. Just now the Zeitlin track is playing and it's as good as anything on the album.

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A great record. :tup 

A lot of these various artists-type records don't come off for me. They just don't cohere. There's no sense of "album." But I think this one works.

I have the Palo Alto 2-LP set. Too bad that they excised those tracks off the CD. If it's not a duration issue, I wonder if it was a legal/permissions thing. (?)

Edited by HutchFan

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Boy, I just seeing this from over two years ago. HutchFan's explanation is as good as any. 

 

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