Bill Evans

(1929- 80)


Few musicians seemed less likely to make an impact on the New York jazz scene in the late 50s than pianist Bill Evans, whose introspective solos and delicate touch were far removed from what was commonly considered "hard bop."  Yet Evans was indeed heard, and quickly became one of the most influential musicians of the last 40 years.
Evans was born in Plainfield, New Jersey.  When he entered the New York scene in 1955, recording with Tony Scott and George Russell, his subtly swinging, lucidly constructed solos quickly attracted attention. He spent several months during 1958 in Miles Davis's band, where he played alongside John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley as well as the trumpeter and became a central figure in Davis's shift to modal improvisation. Evans' contribution to the classic album Kind of Blue is often underrated.
The period with Davis allowed Evans to organize his own trio, which featured bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian by the end of 1959, These three players developed a new and more interactive approach to trio playing, one in which all instruments carried melodic responsibilities.  LaFaro's tragic death in July 1961 in a car accident ended the existence of this seminal unit,' but not before it had recorded four albums, two in the studio and two
at the Village Vanguard shortly before the bassist's death, that influenced several generations of pianists, bassists, and drummers. While Evans carried on to make memorable duet music with guitarist Jim Hall, singer Tony Bennett, and bassist Eddie Gomez, he also continued to work in the trio format he had established with LaFaro and Motian. Personnel rarely changed in the Evans trio (Gomez was a member from 1966-77), and the unit's repertoire slowly grew to include evocative new originals as well as worthy standards. Despite this consistency of format and material, Evans remained uncommonly inspired, able to reach stunning emotional depths with a quiet lucidity that was unmatched. His lyrical melodic inventions, intricate phrasing and beautiful touch remain as unmistakable influences on pianists 15 years after his death.
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Check out Bill Evans' page on emusic and download free tracks
Recommended recordings:
The Complete Riverside Recordings Riverside 12RCD-018-2 
Waltz for Debbie OJC 210-2 - Riverside 9399
New Jazz Conceptions OJC 025-2 - Riverside 223
Explorations OJC 037-2 - Riverside 9351
Everybody Digs Bill Evans OJC 068-2 - Riverside 1129
Portrait in Jazz OJC 088-2 - Riverside 1162
Interplay OJC 308-2 - Riverside 9445
The Tokyo Concert OJC 345-2 - Fantasy 9457
Sunday at the Village Vanguard OJC 140-2 - Riverside 9376
Moonbeams OJC 434-2 - Riverside 9428
Quintessence OJC 698-2 - Fantasy 9529
How My Heart Sings OJC 369-2 - Riverside 9473
Intuition OJC 470-2 - Fantasy 9475
Since We Met OJC 622-2 - Fantasy 9501
Corsscurrents OJC 718-2 - Fantasy 9568
I Will Say Goodbeye OJC 761-2 - Fantasy 9593
Alone (Again) OJC 795-2 - Fantasy 9542
Eloquence OJC 814-2 - Fantasy 9618
The Complete Fantasy Recordings Fantasy 9FCD-1012-2 
Jazzhouse Milestone MCD-9151-2 
You're Gonna Hear From Me Milestone MCD-9164-2 
The Solo Sessions Vol I Milestone MCD-9170-2 
The Solo Sessions Vol II Milestone MCD-9195-2 
Blue in Green Milestone MCD-9185-2 
Loose Blues Milestone MCD-9200-2 
On Green Dolphin Street Milestone MCD-9235-2 
But Beautiful (with Stan Getz) Milestone MCD-9249-2 
Half Moon Bay Milestone MCD-9282-2 
The Last Waltz Milestone 8MCD-4430-2 
At Montreux (with Stan Getz) Verve
The Complete Bill Evans on Verve Verve