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The Best of Bill Evans Live on Verve

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Album Review

While on the surface it may seem like a quixotic task to choose a single disc as a sampler for something like Verve's elephantine 18-disc The Complete Bill Evans On Verve box, in this specialized case, the concept does work. Evans' primary live vehicle was the piano trio, with the post-bop approach and format rarely varied, and this collection of mid-'60s tracks drawn from four live albums catches an intelligent cross-section of his usual palette of standards with a handful of originals thrown in. Among the best choices are a particularly well-structured "Turn Out the Stars" from the Village Vanguard from 1967 (drummer Philly Joe Jones could light an especially hot fire underneath Evans) and a lovely solo "I Loves You Porgy" from Montreux. There is also a good balance between introspection and the lesser-known yet undeniably swinging side of Evans. The catholic-minded among us, though, can do without the outlandish lead sentence of the booklet notes — "Bill Evans played piano better than anyone" — which, despite the disclaimer further down the page, is all too typical of a lot of uncritical writing about Evans these days. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

a good place to start

this is one of the first jazz albums i ever owned, and i blame it single-handedly for turning me onto jazz, and evans in particular. despite modern voices pointing out how the bill evans bandwagon refuses to admit his faults, this album shows that those faults are few and far between (at least in the sense of evans' musicianship). best piano player in the world? if miles davis thought so, i don't think opposing-minded music critics have much to lean against. buy this album if you want to experience part of something that only happened once, but happened nearly every night for twenty years. bill evans, playing live, better than any one had before or has since.


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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Top Albums and Songs by Bill Evans

The Best of Bill Evans Live on Verve, Bill Evans
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  • $5.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: Feb 24, 1997

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