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Thoughts of Bill Evans

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Album Review

When Roseanna Vitro recorded Conviction: Thoughts of Bill Evans during the summer of 2000, tributes to the late jazz pianist were hardly unprecedented in the jazz world. Evans was, after all, among the most influential bop/post-bop pianists of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s — Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Fred Hersch, Alan Broadbent, John Serry, and countless others have been heavily influenced by his work. Hersch, in fact, saluted Evans' legacy on his album Evanessance: A Tribute to Bill Evans. The thing that makes Conviction unusual, as far as Evans tributes goes, is the fact that Vitro is a singer. Although she isn't the only vocalist who has recorded "Waltz for Debby" or "Turn Out the Stars," it isn't every day that Evans' songs become the primary focus of a jazz vocal date. And much to Vitro's credit, Conviction isn't about slavish devotion; the Texas native brings something personal to lyrics that were written by Eleana Dee for "Remembering the Rain," Roger Schore for "In April," and Carol Hall for "Very Early" and "Two Lonely People." Not surprisingly, the CD isn't without its share of Gene Lees lyrics; Vitro also interprets the lyrics that the prolific Lees wrote for "Turn Out the Stars," "Waltz for Debby," and "My Bells." It should be stressed that Vitro is joined by players who obviously know Evans' music inside and out — Eddie Gomez was Evans' bassist from 1966-1977, and pianists Fred Hersch and Allen Farnham have both claimed Evans as a primary influence. This thoughtful, consistently interesting date proves that you don't have to be an instrumentalist to be inspired by one of jazz's most imaginative pianists.


Born: 1951 in Texarkana, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Although underrated, Roseanna Vitro's versatility, sense of swing, and highly appealing voice made her one of the most consistently interesting jazz singers of the 1990s and 2000s. She started her career in Houston in the mid-'70s (originally singing blues and rock) where she had a two-year engagement at the Green Room while hosting a weekly live radio broadcast. Shortly after moving to New York in 1980 she worked with Lionel Hampton. Roseanna Vitro, who continually takes colorful chances in her...
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Thoughts of Bill Evans, Roseanna Vitro
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