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Bill Evans Plays the Theme from "The VIPs" and Other Great Songs

Bill Evans

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Album Review

Bill Evans' 1963 album Plays the Theme from The V.I.P.s and Other Great Songs features the legendary pianist eschewing his more introspective sound for a commercial pop approach. Working with an orchestral background courtesy of conductor/arranger Claus Ogerman (uncredited here), Evans delves into songs by such writers as Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, Elmer Bernstein, Miklós Rózsa, and others. While the album has more to do with light easy listening than deep harmonic jazz exploration, there is much to enjoy here for fans of jazz-inflected '60s pop.

Biography

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,...
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