Peter Johnson

*** Bill Evans ***

121 posts in this topic

I have always preferred the Solo Sessions (vols. 1 & 2) on Milestone to either Alone or Alone Again.

Also, I have always considered Conversations with Myself a great solo album althought technically it isn't or maybe it is.

The Solo Sessions are tremendous - but the're also kind of unbearable - he's so naked, like Martin Williams says in the sleevenotes, it seems an unfair intrusion to listen to them. There is something very self-destructive about Evans - and, for me, all the discussions about drugs or narcissism are subsumed into that. It seems like he was almost the classic melancholic and lived his life out of that. I mean those last Village Vanguard sessions are so sort of expansive, and yet he's dying. Like the time he gets to spread his wings is when he's got no more time.

There is a big connection between melancholia and depth of thought in the Western cultural tradition, and Evans seems to fit into that. He's a tremendous fit on Kind of Blue, where he infuses the blues of the album with a kind of melancholic vibe. There's a kind of blackness to the thing. Anyhow that's how it seems to me.

I think there is a kind of blackness to Evans, to put it another way.

Simon Weil

Edited by Simon Weil

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I've been struck lately of how different Bill Evans: The Paris Concerts are from Turn Out The Stars, and there's only a seven month difference between the recordings. In Paris, Evans had a very classical sound, and Johnson and La Barbera are very much in the background. TOTS has a much more, what I would describe as a harder edge to it. Interesting. Don't know if it means anything, but interesting none the less. Evans is a fascinating study.

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I still don't own many BE cds but at last I bought his duet album with Jim Hall (Undercurrent). Magical! I can't get enough of it!

Is their another duet "Intermodulation" as good one? According to Penguin Guide it's not nearly as good.Is is still worth purchasing?

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I still don't own many BE cds but at last I bought his duet album with Jim Hall (Undercurrent). Magical! I can't get enough of it!

Is their another duet "Intermodulation" as good one? According to Penguin Guide it's not nearly as good.Is is still worth purchasing?

Sorry, don't have that one yet. :blush:

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I still don't own many BE cds but at last I bought his duet album with Jim Hall (Undercurrent). Magical! I can't get enough of it!

Is their another duet "Intermodulation" as good one? According to Penguin Guide it's not nearly as good.Is is still worth purchasing?

Played both these over the past couple of day, and, IMHO, Intermodulation doesn't come close to Undercurrent. It's very professional music, played very well, but doesn't have the spark that Undercurrent maintains throughout the session.

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I still don't own many BE cds but at last I bought his duet album with Jim Hall (Undercurrent). Magical! I can't get enough of it!

Is their another duet "Intermodulation" as good one? According to Penguin Guide it's not nearly as good.Is is still worth purchasing?

Played both these over the past couple of day, and, IMHO, Intermodulation doesn't come close to Undercurrent. It's very professional music, played very well, but doesn't have the spark that Undercurrent maintains throughout the session.

Thanks for letting me know.I will most likely buy Intermodulation at some point but not very soon.

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Played both these over the past couple of day, and, IMHO, Intermodulation doesn't come close to Undercurrent. It's very professional music, played very well, but doesn't have the spark that Undercurrent maintains throughout the session.

I'll strike out in disagreement on this one -- as great as "Undercurrent" is, I still keep coming back to "Intermodulation" again and again. Those octaves on the Samba just kill me -- it's definitely up there among my favorite handful of Bill albums of all time.

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Just on observation, and you don't have to buy into it ;) : Bill Evans stinks at playing Thelonious Monk tunes. I don't know why this is but every time Evans does Monk, it just doesn't connect for me. It's obvious that Evans' has an extremely high regard for Monk, plays him a lot, but it's feel as though Evans is missing the heart of the matter. Maybe it's that infamous "lack of blues feeling" some talk about, but it's there, and as much as I love Evans, I can't deny it.

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Just on observation, and you don't have to buy into it ;) : Bill Evans stinks at playing Thelonious Monk tunes. I don't know why this is but every time Evans does Monk, it just doesn't connect for me. It's obvious that Evans' has an extremely high regard for Monk, plays him a lot, but it's feel as though Evans is missing the heart of the matter. Maybe it's that infamous "lack of blues feeling" some talk about, but it's there, and as much as I love Evans, I can't deny it.

Hmmm. . . I love some of the Monk versions. . . . My favorite would be "Round Midnight" on the Manne Hole Riverside. Awesome!

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Just on observation, and you don't have to buy into it ;) : Bill Evans stinks at playing Thelonious Monk tunes. I don't know why this is but every time Evans does Monk, it just doesn't connect for me. It's obvious that Evans' has an extremely high regard for Monk, plays him a lot, but it's feel as though Evans is missing the heart of the matter. Maybe it's that infamous "lack of blues feeling" some talk about, but it's there, and as much as I love Evans, I can't deny it.

Hmmm. . . I love some of the Monk versions. . . . My favorite would be "Round Midnight" on the Manne Hole Riverside. Awesome!

Talk about different tastes! That was the one that sent me over the edge -- don't like it, no way, no how. Oh well, it's my problem... :blush: I just don't think that Evans digs very deep in his interpretations of Monk.

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Well, I guess there's different ideas of "Deep." I think he transforms the song into an Evans vehicle, and I find it beautiful, and it has an elegance that I really enjoy.

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Well, I guess there's different ideas of "Deep." I think he transforms the song into an Evans vehicle, and I find it beautiful, and it has an elegance that I really enjoy.

Probably right, I remember a Teddy Wilson version of a Monk tune off the Mosaic set that left me very cold also. My ears might be set to a particular way of hearing Monk, and I'm losing out by not just listening to what's going on in the music. Maybe I should do a CDR of Evans playing Monk and listen to that for awhile.

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Interpreting Monk is really I think best when it's "personalized" -- for me. To try to play it "Monklike" is in some ways doable as his tunes are so distilled down to pure Monk is some fashion. . . . To take the music and further personalize it for YOURSELF as the player. . . is not as easy I think as one could guess.

This is an instance where I think Evans just really put his own soulfulness (which is very different from Monk's) into the playing.

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Probably right, I remember a Teddy Wilson version of a Monk tune off the Mosaic set that left me very cold also. My ears might be set to a particular way of hearing Monk, and I'm losing out by not just listening to what's going on in the music. Maybe I should do a CDR of Evans playing Monk and listen to that for awhile.

Don't see a Monk tune on the Wilson Mosaic, but there is IMO a fascinating, subtle version of '"Round Midnight" on Wilson's Columbia album "And Then They Wrote," now on Collectables coupled with "Mr. Wilson and Mr. Gershwin." Wilson takes it in a less solemn, more "walking" manner than usual, revealing both its Swing Era roots and its roots in Wilson's own music in particular. Another gem from the same album is Wilson's version of "Artistry in Rhythm."

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Just on observation, and you don't have to buy into it ;) : Bill Evans stinks at playing Thelonious Monk tunes. I don't know why this is but every time Evans does Monk, it just doesn't connect for me. It's obvious that Evans' has an extremely high regard for Monk, plays him a lot, but it's feel as though Evans is missing the heart of the matter. Maybe it's that infamous "lack of blues feeling" some talk about, but it's there, and as much as I love Evans, I can't deny it.

Aside from "'Round Midnight", of which he did a few versions, e.g. TRIO '65 (Verve), what other Monk tunes did Evans do? I can't think of any and I own quite a few Evans albums.

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Aside from "'Round Midnight", of which he did a few versions, e.g. TRIO '65 (Verve), what other Monk tunes did Evans do? I can't think of any and I own quite a few Evans albums.

"Bemsha Swing" and "Blue Monk" on Conversations with Myself.

Guy

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Just on observation, and you don't have to buy into it ;) : Bill Evans stinks at playing Thelonious Monk tunes. I don't know why this is but every time Evans does Monk, it just doesn't connect for me. It's obvious that Evans' has an extremely high regard for Monk, plays him a lot, but it's feel as though Evans is missing the heart of the matter. Maybe it's that infamous "lack of blues feeling" some talk about, but it's there, and as much as I love Evans, I can't deny it.

Well, I think Evans "lack of blues feeling" is BS. Here's something I wrote on rmb a few years ago:

Date: Mon, Nov 3 2003 10:29 pm

>So, boys, now that you've all had your fun, how about answering my

>original question: why couldn't the man play the blues?

>Let's try to get in a bit of jazz-discussion while we can.

OK. Find "Loose Bloose", a track written by Evans and recorded with Zoot Sims,

Jim Hall, Ron Cater and Philly Joe Jones in 1962. This is, evidently, a track

associated with the blues - we all know Evans' joy at playing with words in his

titles. So it's kind of half way between "loose blues" and "loose blowse". Or

something like I've got the the blooes, kind of like being in luv.

There are two versions I know about, I've just been listening to the one on the

Interplay Sessions Double LP. Evans's playing of the theme is blues-drenched in

feeling - and so is his comping. His main solo is somewhere between his

standard, melancholy style and the blues - it seems to have blues feeling

without resolving in a blues way.

But there is also a passage, towards the end of the track, where he produces

impromptu lines somewhere in the Ahmad Jamal/John Lewis area. As far as I'm

concerned this absolutely qualifies as blues-playing. The overall effect of the

track is, indeed, of loose bloose - or loosely bluesey, moving from plain blues

playing to something that hovers between the blues and something else. I deduce

that he worked out the various stylist effects he was aiming for in each

passage, so that the overall effect would be achieved. Therefore my view is

that he could play the blues when he wanted to, play something that hovered

between the blues and something else when he wanted to, and not play the blues

at all - when he wanted to.

I don't think Monk's playing is, at root, blues playing.

Simon Weil

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I want to put in another vote for Intermodulation over Undercurrent. For my taste, Intermodulation is far superior, particularly in the choice of material played.

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I recall one evening in Rochester ,New York spending a fair amount of time speaking with Bill Evans between sets at a local club. I asked Bill why he so rarely played the blues. Bill seemed a bit surprised and said to Eddie Gomez sitting nearby, Eddie, don't we play the blues often? Eddie wasn't sure what to say either, but the point seemed to be that neither Evans or Gomez seemed aware that they played the blues so infrequently.

Edited by Peter Friedman

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I've been listening a lot to the Bill Evans / Gary McFarland sessions, and it's been interesting. McFarland presents Evens very nicely, and keeps making interesting musical choices, with Richard Davis being a very solid foundation. McFarland's not the greatest vibe player ever, but he makes his playing fit the music. Evans & McFarland seem very simpatico, and if you're interested in arranged jazz with strings, this is a standout. CD goes by the titile of The Gary McFarland Orchestra With Special Guest Soloist Bill Evans. I think I read somewhere it's not available domestically, but if you find it somewhere, buy it. :tup

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I couldn't begin to count how many hours of enjoyment I've had listening to Bill. A musical giant!

John McLaughlin was asked what the world would be like without Miles, and he said "I cannot imagine". Same applies to Bill Evans and jazz, for me.

Someone asked if Bill sounded different live. Well I saw him at Ronnie Scott's in London, England, in early 1972, and I then went over to Paris, France (mainly to get a soprano from Selmer's!), and guess who was playing there - so I heard him again, unexpectedly. That was the trio with Eddie Gomez and Marty Morrell. I thought he sounded the same as on records.

-------------------------------------------------------------

[i've had a copy of "From Left To Right" since the LP first came out, and I love it, though it's not Bill's best album. As he said, those Fender-Rhodes pianos (as they were then known) had a poor action, so he could not use his sensitive touch to the full.* The Verve box set brought to light a mass of extra takes, and the long sequence of takes of "Why Did I Choose You" is beautiful. It adds a lot to the original album.]

* For the same reason, Rudy was not the best engineer for Bill, and his kinda boxed-in piano sound, to which we are all so accustomed, and which is fine for most jazz pianists, does not do Bill full justice. Don't get me wrong, I love Rudy's piano sound - it's part of jazz history - but it isn't right for Bill imo.

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mehldau is far better at incorporating, when he chooses too, bill's ideas into his playing than anyone i have heard.

i choose to think of it as respect rather than copying.

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One of my favorite Evans albums is California Here I Come - a live double Verve LP with Eddie Gomez and Philly Joe. Interesting that it is one of Evans more straight-ahead recordiongs and wasn't released until after his death.

I agree on Philly Joe - didn't Evans himself name him as a favourite?

Jack deJohnette would have been interesting, but he went with Miles .....

I have to check out that California album - is there any single issue?

Hi there, I'm from THE FUTURE. Hang tight and Verve will release California Here I Come in September, 2004. It will indeed be released as a single CD, in one of those nifty digi-pak deals. GREAT recording; Philly Joe really swings hard and pushes Evans to do likewise. As much as I enjoy Evans in his usual introspective settings, California is a refreshing change-up. "Can't swing" my ass! I often offer this as evidence that he could swing like mad if he was so inclined!

Edited by Frankie Machine

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Never heard Caifornia ..., but I've always thought that a lot of Evans' best early playing was done with Philly Joe. I'll take Everybody Digs and Green Dolphin Street with PJ over the Lafaro/Motian trio sides anytime.

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The California Here I Come music is outstanding, as will as the, as yet, unreleased cuts of this trio that you will find on the Complete Verve Recordings. I heard a rumor that the entire live recordings were put out on two cds, released only in Japan (of course).

Edited by Matthew

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