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Trio 64

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Album Review

Joining Bill Evans (piano) on Trio '64 — his initial three-piece recording for Verve — is the compact rhythm section of Gary Peacock (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). The effort spotlights their communal and intuitive musical discourse, hinging on an uncanny ability of the musicians to simultaneously hear and respond. All the more interesting, Evans had not interacted in this setting before, having most recently worked with Chuck Israels (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums). The personable opener, "Little Lulu," features the aggregate melodically molding individual and distinct sonic characteristics. Evans' nimble and emphatic syncopation is not only ably supported, but framed by Peacock's expressive runs and Motian's acute sense of timing. "A Sleeping Bee" is one of the collection's most endearing selections as the groove playfully scintillates surrounding some hauntingly poignant chord changes. Evans bandies back and forth with Peacock, the latter likewise providing a stellar solo. "Always" captures a similar effervescence as the instrumentalists ebb and flow in synchronicity. Since the December 18 session was held the week before Christmas 1963, they fittingly tote out "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," creating a minor masterpiece of post-bop from what could easily have started as a spontaneous seasonal suggestion. Noël Coward's "I'll See You Again" bears a brisk waltz persona, enabling the unit to fluently weave its offerings without obstructing the otherwise affective tune. Concluding Trio '64 is Rodgers & Hart's standard "Everything Happens to Me," with an unhurried tempo lingering just long enough to embrace the familiar refrain. Evans sparkles, gliding around Peacock's full-bodied basslines and Motian's solid yet restrained beat.

Customer Reviews

Great chemistry

The only Bill Evans record with Gary Peacock on bass, (a future lifetime member of the Keith Jarrett Trio), and the last time Evans would use Paul Motian, (his first trio drummer, dating back to "New Jazz Conceptions"), this trio offers a fascinating look at what might've been. The Evans and Peacock combination sparkles with a new contrapuntal zest, more rhythmically playful, but less melodically liquid. It's a shame Evans didn't have the opportunity to work with Peacock again, (Peacock seemed to be lost for some years to the hippy generation), and I suspect that without his soulmate Scott Lafaro, Evans perhaps was looking for a fresh start, (without Paul Motian), which would ultimately become his trio with Eddie Gomez and Marty Morrell. But I feel that Paul Motian was the best foil for Evans conversational ways, with his spare "heavy but light", "on the down beat" feel. For me, the later drummers missed some of the point of Evans' trio concept. Too bad Peacock and Motian didn't stick around for a few more records. Next to the Lafaro and Motian team, this is my favorite Evans rhythm section.


Born: August 16, 1929 in Plainfield, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

With the passage of time, Bill Evans has become an entire school unto himself for pianists and a singular mood unto himself for listeners. There is no more influential jazz-oriented pianist -- only McCoy Tyner exerts nearly as much pull among younger players and journeymen -- and Evans has left his mark on such noted players as Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau. Borrowing heavily from the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel, Evans brought a new, introverted, relaxed, lyrical,...
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