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Miles Davis & Bill Evans


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I've been hard on Evans at times -- more for the way he lured so many players down a path of semi-pastoral near-facelessness than for the course of his own development, compromised as it was by drug use.  (A musician friend who is something of an Evans scholar says that you can catergorize Evans' music by what drug he was using at the time -- Heroin Bill, Methadone Bill, Cocaine Bill, and what am I leaving out? And yet if the way he played on the Vanguard albums with LaFaro and Motion was  to some degree a byproduct of his  belief that "romanticism handled with discipline is the most beautiful kind of beauty," who can quarrel with those particular results; they were beautiful by any standard. Few musicians reach such a level; that from there it went the way it by and large did was ... you name it. A pity? A tragedy? Inevitable? Good enough, given the odds. Whenever I revisit  the music I efeel a bit differently each time.

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16 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

I've been hard on Evans at times -- more for the way he lured so many players down a path of semi-pastoral near-facelessness than for the course of his own development, compromised as it was by drug use.  (A musician friend who is something of an Evans scholar says that you can catergorize Evans' music by what drug he was using at the time -- Heroin Bill, Methadone Bill, Cocaine Bill, and what am I leaving out? And yet if the way he played on the Vanguard albums with LaFaro and Motion was  to some degree a byproduct of his  belief that "romanticism handled with discipline is the most beautiful kind of beauty," who can quarrel with those particular results; they were beautiful by any standard. Few musicians reach such a level; that from there it went the way it by and large did was ... you name it. A pity? A tragedy? Inevitable? Good enough, given the odds. Whenever I revisit  the music I efeel a bit differently each time.

one of the stranger moments of my life; I got a call one day, must have been around 1978, and the voice said "hi Allen this is Bill Evans; do you know where I can get some cocaine?"

I was friends with his wife and he was visiting (she lived in a suburb of New Haven) and I guess he was strung out. I was unable to help.

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4 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

sgcim wrote: "I can only answer the first part of that by quoting Hindemith: "We only have twelve tones in music, therefore we must be very careful about how we use those twelve tones" (or something to that effect).

The limitations of Hindemith's own music, estimable as it often is, are a fairly sure sign of the limitations of his or anyone else's fetishization of "craft" and "rules."

sgcim also wrote: " On top of all that, Evans would bring an improvisational genius that was unequaled during his time." Unequalled? By Rollins? By Coltrane? By Wayne Shorter? By Ornette (if you will; I would). Hell,  I would say that if Clifford Brown or (working close to home) Scott LaFaro had lived normal life spans, their achievements would have surpassed Evans'.

I was talking pianists.

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4 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

sgcim wrote: "I can only answer the first part of that by quoting Hindemith: "We only have twelve tones in music, therefore we must be very careful about how we use those twelve tones" (or something to that effect).

The limitations of Hindemith's own music, estimable as it often is, are a fairly sure sign of the limitations of his or anyone else's fetishization of "craft" and "rules."

sgcim also wrote: " On top of all that, Evans would bring an improvisational genius that was unequaled during his time." Unequalled? By Rollins? By Coltrane? By Wayne Shorter? By Ornette (if you will; I would). Hell,  I would say that if Clifford Brown or (working close to home) Scott LaFaro had lived normal life spans, their achievements would have surpassed Evans'.

Hindemith's "Craft of Musical Composition" books were pretty stupid, but when the American composer John Cacavas studied with him privately, he said to Hindemith, "Maestro, I worked through all of your 'Craft' books, but they don't show me how to compose music on the level of Mathis der Maler, The Four Temperments, The Viola Concerto, etc....

Hindemith answered him with words to the effect of, "Do you really think I'd reveal the secrets of my greatest works for a puny four dollar book?"

Hold a seance, and ask Glenn Gould what he thought of Hindemith's music.

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But anyway, the dude got monotonous and kept getting monotonouser and monotonouser.

If Hindemith was so prissy about having "only" twelve notes (and that was his first mistake) SOMEBODY should have cracked on Evans about how we only have two hands, it's important that we use them carefully. That constant left hand of his pounding along with his increasingly predictable right hand lines, it's not the sound of a man freeing up, it's the sound of a man locking up, freezing up. It bugs the shit out of me, there's NO freedom there, just an increasingly claustrophic pounding, like Lennie Tistano and Red Garland got captured and sewn together and they struggled in vain to get free of each other, and like one of those Chinese Finger Traps, the more it pulls, the more trapped it gets.

The dude doesn't sound like he has two hands, he sounds like he has one hand with ten figures. Sometimes that's a compliment to a pianist, but in this case, it's not. Two words about two independent hands - Earl Hines.

Not only do you have this monolithic poundcompgoing on, it's going on with the tense internal time that gets further and further  on top of the beat until at some points, it does actually cross the line into rushing. A rushing, claustrophopic pounding. YUCK.

Somebody should have set that boy down and sent him to Lexington or someplace, someplace to rehab his mind. But now, hey White Guy Hung Heavy With Miles Playing Beautifyul Sensitive DREAMY Piano, take about what "the word" needs now....I don't think anybody was honest with him about how bad he was getting, and he lacked the internal courage to be honest with himself. There was a segment of the population (aka "the world") who needed "Bill Evans" as a "hero" or "model" and there was equally an industry that was more than happy and able to provide them their "Bill Evans". Bill Evans himself seemed to be high most of the time, more than happy to play the role that gave him the ability to stay high. Must be doing SOMETHING right, eh?

I'm serious about this. I've listened to more than a few Bill Evans records from all periods of his career, and monotony is the word that comes in at some point before the record is over. Earlier on, yeah, it was a voice, a "style" if you will, but it turned pathetic and never got better. It's neither "sensitive" nor "inventive" nor...anything except tense, claustrophobic, and limited both emotionally and musically. At times it gets repulsive. It's the sound of a prisoner turned puppet to his own damaged neurological impulses. Even a record that engages at some level, like the Montreux album with Jack, I mean, really I can't make all the way through one side of the record without being ready for something completely different when the side is over. And that's on a GOOD Bill Evans record! 

In the ecosystem of mainstream popular jazz piano of, by, and for damaged psyches in denial - ultimately, Bill Evans is the devolved Yin to Oscar Peterson's eternal Yang.

Again, YUCK.

 

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 Bill Evans' music is so deep and layered, a friend of mine has devoted his life to studying, transcribing and analyzing his improvisational idea since the age of eleven. He's now 66, and is still working at it. Before the pandemic, he was working on doing a stint as a guest lecturer at The Bill Evans Piano Institute in Paris, France.

As far as the specifics of his musical thought, you might want to look at studies such as this. You might still hate him, but at least you'd have a better idea of why you hate him

Patterns have a long and deep history in the tradition of improvisation. Jazz musicians often use the tonal frameworks of tunes from the Great American Songbook as plans for their improvisations. On top of these tonal plans, players may draw from a set of memorized licks. The present study mediates between these two levels of structure by codifying specific melodic frameworks at the level of the phrase in the solos of jazz pianist Bill Evans. Analyses show that Evans utilized the same melodic frameworks in different performances, but used them to create new melodic lines. These frameworks provide specific ways of navigating the voice-leading strands of a tune, often referred to as guide tones in the study of jazz harmony. At the same time, they allow the performer the flexibility and freedom to create new melodic material in each performance, since they can be elaborated in different ways.

Although Evans left no extant descriptions of his own structural models for many of the tunes he played, his repeated performances of certain tunes throughout his career offer a way to determine the melodic models used in his solos. The present study compares different performances of the same tune with one another, as a performance family, codifying melodic frameworks that occur across each set of performances. In addition, since many of the underlying phrase models of standard tunes occur across the repertoire, comparisons can be made between Evans's performances of different tunes. Wherever the fixed aspects can be understood as governing the variable aspects, the fixed elements can be conceived as structural frames for the solo.

Acknowledging the existence of such cross-performance structures provides insight into one kind of knowledge that a player can have when approaching a jazz performance, and aligns with the study of expert behavior by cognitive psychologists. At the same time, positing such structures blurs the traditional distinction between composition and improvisation. In Evans's case, comparing multiple performances of the same tune provides one way to distinguish learned from improvised behavior, illuminating a level of invariant structure that mediates between the global tonal plan and local licks. Since they exist at the level of the phrase and are neither as general as a tonal plan nor as succinct as licks, these melodic frameworks can be useful in jazz pedagogy as a fruitful starting point for aspiring improvisers.

 

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16 hours ago, sgcim said:

I was talking pianists.

That was not at all clear. If you had said: " Evans would bring an improvisational genius to the piano that was unequaled during his time," it would have been. You need, a la Evans and Hindemith, to be more CAREFUL.

Is Tristano out of Evans' time? If not, I'll take Tristano by a good margin. He and Evans certainly overlapped. Albeit his career was cut short, but I prefer Eddie Costa to Evans. Herbie Nichols, for sure, even if you think he was more a composer than an improviser.  And even though they are Evans-influenced players, I prefer the late Don Friedman and Denny Zeitlin to Evans.

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Or this:

This study sought to identify the contributions made to the jazz medium by pianist Bill Evans, through the musical analysis of selected solo performances and an investigation of his life, career, and recorded output.

The biographical account of Bill Evans' life focused on his musical training and the development of his musical style. The evolution of his career was documented, as were the events which affected his life and the people with whom he associated. Through an examination of Evans' recorded output, many aspects of his musical preferences were revealed, such as the musical settings in which he liked to perform, the nature of his repertoire, and the rhythmic and tonal structure of his musical arrangements. The discussion of his discography was supplemented by the critical reviews that accompanied the release of his recordings in order to illustrate the high regard in which he was held.

Based on the data concerning the composition of Evans' musical arrangements, four representative piano solos were selected for analysis, three of which were subsequently transcribed by the researcher. The style analyses utilized techniques drawn from the analytic methods of Jan LaRue, Jerry Coker, and Heinrich Schenker. Conclusions drawn from the style analyses provided the basis for a pedagogical guide through which the stylistic characteristics of Bill Evans' musical style may be applied to the teaching of jazz piano.

The outcomes suggested that although Bill Evans was traditional in his approach to jazz, he was also innovative. He drew from many sources, using existing jazz materials as the basis of his style, and building upon them to create something new. His contributions to the jazz piano style were manifested in his development of various types of open and close chord voicings, his skillful use of harmonic substitutions and quartal harmonies, his extensive use of motivic development, and the application of both rhythmic displacement and polyrhythmic concepts.

 

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Title
Bill Evans: His contributions as a jazz pianist and an analysis of his musical style
Number of pages
351
Publication year
1992
Degree date
 
 
Or this:
This thesis shows Bill Evans' approach to playing the melody on jazz ballads. Understanding Evans' specific contributions to the jazz piano literature through the interpretation of jazz ballad melodies is important for jazz musicians who study modern jazz piano. Yet, this aspect of his playing is under-analyzed in the analytical literature about Evans' piano style. For this study, four of Evans' interpretations of standard jazz ballads were selected for analysis from the album Alone. These were: "Here's That Rainy Day," "A Time for Love" "Never Let Me Go," and "On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)". Devices Evans used for the interpretation of the original melodies were: Diminution and augmentations, rhythmic displacements, drop voicings, inner lines, rubato, substitute chords, voice leading, chord anticipations, fills, chromatic approach chords, left hand lines, melody with thirds, fourths, fifths and sixths, contrary motion and use of changing key centers. Evans effectively combined all of these devices together to produce his own original, significant, and influential solo piano style.
1992
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sgcim: I'll take a look Beradinelli's study if I can find it (where and how might I do that?), but if you're saying or implying that an academic thesis carries enough weight in itself to settle the matter once for all, one can find an academic thesis to support just about any aspect of any issue of aesthetic taste/judgment imaginable.

As for Glenn Gould, he loved Richard Strauss' "Enoch Arden."

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42 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

That was not at all clear. If you had said: " Evans would bring an improvisational genius to the piano that was unequaled during his time," it would have been. You need, a la Evans and Hindemith, to be more CAREFUL.

Is Tristano out of Evans' time? If not, I'll take Tristano by a good margin. He and Evans certainly overlapped. Albeit his career was cut short, but I prefer Eddie Costa to Evans. Herbie Nichols, for sure, even if you think he was more a composer than an improviser.  And even though they are Evans-influenced players, I prefer the late Don Friedman and Denny Zeitlin to Evans.

You're right, I could have been clearer.

Evans studied with Tristano, so he might agree with you.

It's hard to say, "I prefer X to Y in terms of a jazz pianist's career. They go through different periods, as with Costa. At one time I loved the "Eddie Costa Trio album on Jubilee, but now I find it kind of predictable compared to his later period, consisting of "House of Blue Lights" the Shelly Manne album, etc...

Evans had a much longer career, and I prefer certain periods to other periods. The last time he played at the VV, I had no idea what he was doing with his complex time/harmonic displacements, but further listening to it afforded clearer understanding and enjoyment of what he was doing.

29 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

sgcim: I'll take a look Beradinelli's study if I can find it (where and how might I do that?), but if you're saying or implying that an academic thesis carries enough weight in itself to settle the matter once for all, one can find an academic thesis to support just about any aspect of any issue of aesthetic taste/judgment imaginable.

As for Glenn Gould, he loved Richard Strauss' "Enoch Arden."

They're all available on Pro Quest. I would go with the last study, just on the basis that I used to gig with the author's husband, and he was a real PITA.:g

Here's some info on the last study:

An analysis of Bill Evans' approach to playing the melody of selected jazz ballads

Cankaya, M. I. Can. The William Paterson University of New Jersey, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2009. 1465725.
 
Edited by sgcim
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9 hours ago, JSngry said:

But anyway, the dude got monotonous and kept getting monotonouser and monotonouser.

If Hindemith was so prissy about having "only" twelve notes (and that was his first mistake) SOMEBODY should have cracked on Evans about how we only have two hands, it's important that we use them carefully. That constant left hand of his pounding along with his increasingly predictable right hand lines, it's not the sound of a man freeing up, it's the sound of a man locking up, freezing up. It bugs the shit out of me, there's NO freedom there, just an increasingly claustrophic pounding, like Lennie Tistano and Red Garland got captured and sewn together and they struggled in vain to get free of each other, and like one of those Chinese Finger Traps, the more it pulls, the more trapped it gets.

The dude doesn't sound like he has two hands, he sounds like he has one hand with ten figures. Sometimes that's a compliment to a pianist, but in this case, it's not. Two words about two independent hands - Earl Hines.

Not only do you have this monolithic poundcompgoing on, it's going on with the tense internal time that gets further and further  on top of the beat until at some points, it does actually cross the line into rushing. A rushing, claustrophopic pounding. YUCK.

Somebody should have set that boy down and sent him to Lexington or someplace, someplace to rehab his mind. But now, hey White Guy Hung Heavy With Miles Playing Beautifyul Sensitive DREAMY Piano, take about what "the word" needs now....I don't think anybody was honest with him about how bad he was getting, and he lacked the internal courage to be honest with himself. There was a segment of the population (aka "the world") who needed "Bill Evans" as a "hero" or "model" and there was equally an industry that was more than happy and able to provide them their "Bill Evans". Bill Evans himself seemed to be high most of the time, more than happy to play the role that gave him the ability to stay high. Must be doing SOMETHING right, eh?

I'm serious about this. I've listened to more than a few Bill Evans records from all periods of his career, and monotony is the word that comes in at some point before the record is over. Earlier on, yeah, it was a voice, a "style" if you will, but it turned pathetic and never got better. It's neither "sensitive" nor "inventive" nor...anything except tense, claustrophobic, and limited both emotionally and musically. At times it gets repulsive. It's the sound of a prisoner turned puppet to his own damaged neurological impulses. Even a record that engages at some level, like the Montreux album with Jack, I mean, really I can't make all the way through one side of the record without being ready for something completely different when the side is over. And that's on a GOOD Bill Evans record! 

In the ecosystem of mainstream popular jazz piano of, by, and for damaged psyches in denial - ultimately, Bill Evans is the devolved Yin to Oscar Peterson's eternal Yang.

Again, YUCK.

 

About how bad Evans was getting, there was at least one moment of possible enlightenment -- when the estimable Michael Moore was Evans' bassist and Philly Joe Jones his drummer. Given the combined degree of rushing from the piano bench and the drum chair, Moore soon found the situation musically impossible and flat out quit. If a Michael Moore tells me that, I might have a thought or two about what was going on, but apparently not.

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15 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

Doesn't look like an excellent bass player, does he?

Evans, Moore, and Philly Joe. Moore might have quit after this performance:
 

 

 

 

Apparently this performance actually comes from Moore's audition for the trio and was recorded at the Village Vanguard in January 1978--released in 2003 on the Milestone label as Getting Sentimental, a release for which Moore contributed commentary that alludes to his leaving the group five months later over the very issues that you cite, Larry.  This comes from Charles Ralston's review on Amazon:

"Aberration of Starlight" a review of the Bill Evans Trio recording _Getting Sentimental_ (Berkeley, CA: Milestone Records, 2003) (MCD-9336-2) recorded at the Village Vanguard, New York, NY, 15 January 1978 by Mike Harris. Bill Evans, piano; Michael Moore, double bass; `Philly' Joe Jones, drums. 14 tracks; TT 73:19; AAD / Stereo; "all selections previously unreleased"
This surreptitious recording was made by Mike Harris, whose other `secret' recordings of the pianist in performance between 1966 and 1975 at New York's Village Vanguard were issued as _Bill Evans: The Secret Sessions_ (Milestone, 1996, 8 CDs boxed). It was another Sunday at the Village Vanguard and bassist Michael Moore was the last of several bassists who throughout the past week had auditioned for a position in the trio. George Mraz and Rufus Reid were two other bassists who had auditioned. It is not a good recording technically with noticeable drop outs, thud-like drums, crashing cymbals, and muffled bass. Also, the re-mastering seems to have overlooked the need for concert A-440 pitch - everything seems sharp. This CD would be of interest to anyone who wants to know what the Evans trio sounded like between `Eddie Gomez- Eliot Zigmund and Marc Johnson-Joe LaBarbara.
Both Evans and Jones rush the tempos on `I Should Care' and `I'm Getting Sentimental over You'. Jones plays loudly throughout overwhelming Moore. With ballads like `Quiet Now' and `The Peacocks' the trio is more successful (Jones' brush work was always superb). On `Song from M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless)' the drums are acoustically out of balance, probably due to the location of Harris's recording machine, but then again probably also because Philly Joe is not in full control of tempos or volume. Moore's playing is conservative with good intonation and thoughtful melodic lines, appropriate for an audition. His best performance is on `Gary's Theme'.
We learn from Peter Pettinger's Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), a chronological review and analysis of the recordings of the pianist, that following the departures of Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund in the fall of 1977, Bill Evans was without a trio for the first time in over a decade. Despite having secured the bassist chair in the trio, Michael Moore himself reports in the program notes to this recording that after five months he resigned disenchanted with the pianist's shift toward what Moore saw as a fascination with fast tempos and lots of notes.
In January 1978, these (then relatively recent) Evans `non-trio' LPs were available for fans to buy:
* Intuition (Evans-Gomez duo) - recorded November 1974
* Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Album (duo) - June 1975
* Montreux III (Evans-Gomez duo) - July 1975
* Alone (Again) - solo - December 1975
* Quintessence (with K. Burrell, R. Brown, H. Land, `Philly' Joe) - May 1976
* Together (Again) - Evans and Bennett duo - September 1976
* Crosscurrents (with W. Marsh, L. Konitz, Gomez, Zigmund) - March 1977
Bill Evans was searching for something new - duo, solo, quintet - in spite of his always challenging trios. In the end, he returned to his tried and true trio format with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbara. It was this last Evans trio that will be compared most often to his first with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. _Getting Sentimental_, both technically and artistically, is an aberration of the starlight clarity and inventiveness of Evans' other recorded trio accomplishments.
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22 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

About how bad Evans was getting, there was at least one moment of possible enlightenment -- when the estimable Michael Moore was Evans' bassist and Philly Joe Jones his drummer. Given the combined degree of rushing from the piano bench and the drum chair, Moore soon found the situation musically impossible and flat out quit. If a Michael Moore tells me that, I might have a thought or two about what was going on, but apparently not.

There's no doubt that when Evans was addicted to cocaine, he rushed the tempo, and he and PJJ were probably snorting together.

As GOM quoted the review of the 'album' "I Love You" came from, " It is not a good recording technically with noticeable drop outs, thud-like drums, crashing cymbals, and muffled bass. Also, the re-mastering seems to have overlooked the need for concert A-440 pitch - everything seems sharp".

I don't listen to any of Evans' bootleg albums, because they weren't intended for release. Probably if Evans was alive to listen to them, he would have not allowed their release.

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3 hours ago, ghost of miles said:

Apparently this performance actually comes from Moore's audition for the trio and was recorded at the Village Vanguard in January 1978--released in 2003 on the Milestone label as Getting Sentimental, a release for which Moore contributed commentary that alludes to his leaving the group five months later over the very issues that you cite, Larry.  This comes from Charles Ralston's review on Amazon:

"Aberration of Starlight" a review of the Bill Evans Trio recording _Getting Sentimental_ (Berkeley, CA: Milestone Records, 2003) (MCD-9336-2) recorded at the Village Vanguard, New York, NY, 15 January 1978 by Mike Harris. Bill Evans, piano; Michael Moore, double bass; `Philly' Joe Jones, drums. 14 tracks; TT 73:19; AAD / Stereo; "all selections previously unreleased"
This surreptitious recording was made by Mike Harris, whose other `secret' recordings of the pianist in performance between 1966 and 1975 at New York's Village Vanguard were issued as _Bill Evans: The Secret Sessions_ (Milestone, 1996, 8 CDs boxed). It was another Sunday at the Village Vanguard and bassist Michael Moore was the last of several bassists who throughout the past week had auditioned for a position in the trio. George Mraz and Rufus Reid were two other bassists who had auditioned. It is not a good recording technically with noticeable drop outs, thud-like drums, crashing cymbals, and muffled bass. Also, the re-mastering seems to have overlooked the need for concert A-440 pitch - everything seems sharp. This CD would be of interest to anyone who wants to know what the Evans trio sounded like between `Eddie Gomez- Eliot Zigmund and Marc Johnson-Joe LaBarbara.
Both Evans and Jones rush the tempos on `I Should Care' and `I'm Getting Sentimental over You'. Jones plays loudly throughout overwhelming Moore. With ballads like `Quiet Now' and `The Peacocks' the trio is more successful (Jones' brush work was always superb). On `Song from M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless)' the drums are acoustically out of balance, probably due to the location of Harris's recording machine, but then again probably also because Philly Joe is not in full control of tempos or volume. Moore's playing is conservative with good intonation and thoughtful melodic lines, appropriate for an audition. His best performance is on `Gary's Theme'.
We learn from Peter Pettinger's Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), a chronological review and analysis of the recordings of the pianist, that following the departures of Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund in the fall of 1977, Bill Evans was without a trio for the first time in over a decade. Despite having secured the bassist chair in the trio, Michael Moore himself reports in the program notes to this recording that after five months he resigned disenchanted with the pianist's shift toward what Moore saw as a fascination with fast tempos and lots of notes.
In January 1978, these (then relatively recent) Evans `non-trio' LPs were available for fans to buy:
* Intuition (Evans-Gomez duo) - recorded November 1974
* Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Album (duo) - June 1975
* Montreux III (Evans-Gomez duo) - July 1975
* Alone (Again) - solo - December 1975
* Quintessence (with K. Burrell, R. Brown, H. Land, `Philly' Joe) - May 1976
* Together (Again) - Evans and Bennett duo - September 1976
* Crosscurrents (with W. Marsh, L. Konitz, Gomez, Zigmund) - March 1977
Bill Evans was searching for something new - duo, solo, quintet - in spite of his always challenging trios. In the end, he returned to his tried and true trio format with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbara. It was this last Evans trio that will be compared most often to his first with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. _Getting Sentimental_, both technically and artistically, is an aberration of the starlight clarity and inventiveness of Evans' other recorded trio accomplishments.

He should have quit after this performance.

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21 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

He should have quit after this performance.

It is unfortunate that some jazz musicians stay on long after they should have stopped playing (in Evans' case, he probably should have been locked up in a 24/7 rehab hospital for a year or two), in some cases, like Evans for a couple of years, in other cases, like Tal Farlow, after 1959, in Phil Woods' case, after he had to carry around an oxygen tank with him, etc.., but some of them have to eat, some of them (like Evans) seem to have a death drive, while others (Woods) have some type of 'dream' they must fulfill.

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I don't agree about Farlow. Yes, he falters on some of those later albums, but I heard him live in Chicago in the late '80s, and he was jaw-droppingly brilliant in every way. It was like listening to Tatum.

 

BTW., in the passage sgcim quoted, I meant that Michael Moore should have quit the Evans trio after that performance (he  did quit eventually, in part because he couldn't stand the rushing), not that Evans himself should have quit playing. Drugs can be expensive.

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20 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

I don't agree about Farlow. Yes, he falters on some of those later albums, but I heard him live in Chicago in the late '80s, and he was jaw-droppingly brilliant in every way. It was like listening to Tatum.

 

BTW., in the passage sgcim quoted, I meant that Michael Moore should have quit the Evans trio after that performance (he  did quit eventually, in part because he couldn't stand the rushing), not that Evans himself should have quit playing. Drugs can be expensive.

Yes, I remember you mentioning that time you saw Farlow. You must have gotten lucky. Every time I saw him, or heard any of his post-1960 recordings, he didn't sound anywhere near the level he was playing at in the 50s, which I still believe represents the highest level of bop playing on the guitar (especially the recordings with Costa).

Something was interfering with the timing between his picking and fingering in his post 1960s playing, and people that were close to him inferred that it had something to do with alcohol. He came to hear me playing at a club, and we went out to breakfast afterward (I still have the receipt), and he seemed like a quiet, humble person.

In Evans' case, he was mainlining cocaine, and according to one of his ex-students, who visited him at the hospital, he wanted to die.

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Bless my good luck then. I should add that I  was accompanied that night by a friend who has the best ears for jazz I know, and he had the same impression I did. Also, Tal was backed by a very good Chicago  bass and drum team -- the bassist probably was Larry Gray,  the very fluid bop-oriented drummer (not unlike Billy Higgins) was the late Robert Shy. I had the impression that Tal found Shy stimulating, as well he might. FWIW, the club  -- its name was George's -- was a pleasant place with a listening audience and good acoustics. Wish I could find the review I wrote of that performance, but I no longer have access to the Chicago Tribune's Archives.

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Sorry. This is a  very late response. Anyhoo, I saw there were a number of disparaging comments about Evans drug addiction. I can't speak to that other than saying it was very tragic. Other than that, I find Evans recordings to be among my very favorites. I don't recall a bad recording by him. So, I'm not going to join the smear crowd. Evans, like most members of this generation suffered from drug addiction. I have a different perspective that does not descend to focusing on a man's weaknesses but rather his artistic and musical accomplishments. Again, I love the man's playing as one of my favorites and not allowing the negativity of of his personal addictions to sway my appreciation and love of his music. Just sayin'....

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I'm with you. Above most criticizing him say that his addiction may or may not have caused a deterioration in his playing, exemplified mostly it seems by a constant "rushing" of the tempo. I can hear this. . . but then it doesn't bother me. I played drums in a band with a guitarist leader and bass player who were constantly shifting time, usually rushing, and I just did my best to be rock steady and keep an anchor to which they slacked and stretched a line. In the course of some years of playing and a lot of years of listening that sort of rushing just is part of the music playback and doesn't bother me. And I love Evans in early, mid and late periods. That touch and flow!

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52 minutes ago, Enterprise Server said:

Sorry. This is a  very late response. Anyhoo, I saw there were a number of disparaging comments about Evans drug addiction. I can't speak to that other than saying it was very tragic. Other than that, I find Evans recordings to be among my very favorites. I don't recall a bad recording by him. So, I'm not going to join the smear crowd. Evans, like most members of this generation suffered from drug addiction. I have a different perspective that does not descend to focusing on a man's weaknesses but rather his artistic and musical accomplishments. Again, I love the man's playing as one of my favorites and not allowing the negativity of of his personal addictions to sway my appreciation and love of his music. Just sayin'....

Well, yeah, but that's a potentially disingenuous combination conclusion about a lot of separate contentions. Bottom line for me - I was predisposed to not liking him THAT much to begin with. Sure there were moments of "magic" early on, but nothing really sustained that grabbed me enough to invest when the deterioration started happening - and it started happening before any obviously drug-induced manifestations, I mean, my god, I know any number of people who find this glorious, but I find it as annoying as fuck, that relentless left hand, it does not sound in the least bit freed up or any other kind of "up" except fucked up, that left hand is something that had me running the hell away from it the first time I heard it, which was, like, 1974, long before I ever had any idea about the drugs, I had just been reading all these review and hearing all these pianists just LOVING this guy, and then I heard  this record and then many more like it, and was just, like reflexivel....YUCK.

The manner of playing here, the feeling, the energy of it is one form of everything that turns me off in any kind of music, then and now. Too fucking tense, rigid, whatever. Claustrophobic. I don't care how "inventive" it is (and I can question that too), hell, invention alone is nothing but invention.Not what I want out of life, much less out of music, this kind of tense poking and prodding skittering. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!.

At any given time, Art Pepper can hit me like that, but Art Pepper  had the advantage of breath, and of being able to manipulate pitch and timbre, which he did to frequently splendid effect. Plus - and it's a major distinction - Art Pepper did not rush, or even play on top of the beat, he just hugged the beat like a scared kid hugs a teddy bear, which is a quirk, to be sure, but not an unattractive one, But this Bill Evans guy, yeah, I have no problem with the early stuff (at least on a case by case basis). But overall (which is most of his career, just as Miles' electric music is most of his), no thanks, hell no thanks.

But you know, why waste time with this where there's this:

 

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