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The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 (Live) [Remastered]

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Album Review

The music recorded by Bill Evans on June 25, 1961, has long since acquired legendary status. Evans, a brilliant pianist whose unique voicings have influenced over a generation of jazz pianists who have followed him, weaves one masterpiece after another with bassist Scott LaFaro (a promising composer and phenomenal bassist) and the equally valuable drummer Paul Motian. The interplay between them is phenomenal throughout each of their five sets from the final day of a summer gig at the Village Vanguard. This beautifully remastered three-CD collection restores the previously omitted take of "Gloria's Step" (marred only by a brief power outage) and the humorous finale by Evans at the end of the night (first issued in the massive Complete Riverside Recordings box set). The songs are in their original recorded sequence, adding a bit of ambience and audience reaction between numbers. Sadly, it was the trio's final recording, as LaFaro died in a car crash ten days later. The selections from this three-CD box set have been reissued numerous times over the years, but this is the first time that all of them have been collected in one U.S. release. Orrin Keepnews, the original producer, updates the liner notes he previously contributed to earlier issues of this music with a thoughtful commentary. This is an essential purchase, whether you are a novice or seasoned jazz fan. [Released on vinyl in November 2014.]

Customer Reviews

Absolutely incredible...a must have recording

This is such as incredible recording. The sound quality is excellent (especially considering that it is 45 years old!) and the performances are second to none. What's particularly great about this recording is how it takes you through the entire day of sessions at the Village Vanguard with the master trio of Evans, Lefaro and Motian, warts and all. It even leaves in the first take of "Gloria's Step" which was sadly interrupted due to a brief power outtage. Throughout the recordings you can hear the audience talking and clinking glasses and you feel that you are there on that day. If you do not have this yet and consider yourself a fan of jazz, you need to buy this as soon as possible. I can't recommend this highly enough.

The most beautiful set of music I've ever purchased

Need I say more?

The title says it all...

Recorded live at the site of many iconic jazz recordings. This is a fantastic collection. Don't understand the reviewer who said it was overpriced... iTunes is usually $.99 a cut, and there are 26 on this recording. The math works for me.


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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