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Portrait In Jazz (Keepnews Collection)

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Album Review

This 1959 studio session features Bill Evans with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, his earliest important trio and first working group to be recorded. Even at this early stage Evans and his bandmates display a substantial degree of interplay, getting well away from the tradition of the bass and drums playing a totally subservient role to the piano. The pianist's updated arrangements of the seven standards take them into new territory, highlighted by "Autumn Leaves," "Someday My Prince Will Come," and "Spring Is Here." The date is rounded out by two originals, the haunting modal work "Blue in Green" made famous on Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (and wrongly credited to Davis as its composer, as Evans insisted upon credit when the original LP of this session was first issued) and the playful, upbeat "Peri's Scope." Previously reissued as a part of Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics series, this Keepnews Collection expanded reissue includes previously unavailable alternate takes of "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Blue in Green" that were omitted from the 12-CD The Complete Riverside Recordings boxed set, along with expanded liner notes by Riverside founder/producer Orrin Keepnews.

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Biography

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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