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Brandeis Jazz Festival

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Album Review

This oddly packaged CD compilation issued by the European label Gambit is a bit misleading, as it combines titles that appeared on several different releases, though none of the performances actually come from a concert. Most of the material is representative of third stream experiments popular for a time in the late '50s and early '60s, with Bill Evans in the role as a hired hand rather than leader, the role that falls either to conductors Gunther Schuller or George Russell, with most of the tracks originating from a Columbia LP titled Modern Jazz Concert and having reappeared in various incarnations with other selections in earlier reissues. Russell's impressive modern big band scoring of his "All About Rosie" is easily one of the highlights, with terrific ensembles and solos. Charles Mingus' "Revelations" is rather ominous, often suggesting the influence of Igor Stravinsky. The last three tracks are from an unrelated live Newport Jazz Festival Verve recording by mellophonist Don Elliott, who leads a quartet with Bill Evans, bassist Ernie Furtado, and drummer Al Beldini through merely average arrangements of three standards. The piecemeal gathering of these very dissimilar sessions for two different labels is troublesome, though the difficulty in acquiring this music make this edition a viable option for collectors.


Born: 16 August 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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