No one fired up this pianist—one of the most influential in the history of jazz—like this drummer.
Bill Evans Trio (BE [1929-1980], piano; Philly Joe Jones [1923-1985], drums; Marc Johnson [1953-], bass), “Nardis” (M. Davis), live, Italy (Umbria), 1978
How many poems have gotten so much attention with so few words?
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
—William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), “The Red Wheelbarrow”
Here, rehearsing, is the most influential pianist in jazz of the last fifty years.
Bill Evans (piano, 1929-1980), Eddie Gomez (bass), Alex Riel (drums), live, Denmark (Copenhagen), 1966
The ‘open’ voicings that Evans used [i.e., leaving out a chord’s root note] were not new . . . . They had been there in ‘classical’ music since the early part of the century, since Bartok and Stravinsky. But they were new to jazz, and they opened up melody and flow in new ways.
—Martin Williams, The Jazz Tradition (2d ed. 1983)
Bill had this quiet fire that I loved on piano. The way he approached it, the sound he got was like crystal notes or sparkling water cascading down from some clear waterfall.
—Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography (with Quincy Troupe, 1989)
Jim Hall, guitarist, December 4, 1930-December 10, 2013
With Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone), “In a Sentimental Mood” (D. Ellington), live, Italy (Umbria Jazz Festival), 1996
With Bill Evans (piano), Undercurrent (“My Funny Valentine,” “I Hear a Rhapsody,” “Dream Gypsy,” “Romain,” “Skating in Central Park,” “Darn that Dream,” “Stairway to the Stars,” “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”), 1962
When I was in college in the early ’70s, this album was a frequent late-night companion. Since then I’ve listened to it more times than I could count. It never grows old.
Happy Birthday, Thelonious!
Thelonious Monk, composer, pianist, bandleader
October 10, 1917-February 17, 1982
Monk’s music—its exquisite mix of logic and lyricism—sometimes makes me think of Mozart.
“’Round Midnight” (AKA “’Round About Midnight”) (T. Monk)
Take 1: Bill Evans Trio (BE, piano; Eddie Gomez, bass; Marty Morrell, drums), live, Sweden, 1970Vodpod videos no longer available.
Take 2: Don Pullen (piano), rec. 1984 (Don Pullen Plays Monk)Vodpod videos no longer available.
Take 3: Milt Jackson (vibes), live, Japan, 1990Vodpod videos no longer available.
If it wasn’t for music, man, life wouldn’t be nothing—it’s all about music.
Sonny Rollins talks about Monk:Vodpod videos no longer available.
All Monk, all day: WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University).
Comedy, like jazz, is an art of syncopation.
Lenny Bruce, 1959 (with Cannonball Adderly, saxophone; Bill Evans, piano; Teddy Kotick, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums)Vodpod videos no longer available.
(Yeah, I could do without all the extra blah-blah-blah, too.)
More Lenny? Here.
Today WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University) is remembering George Shearing, who passed away Monday at the age of 91, with a memorial broadcast that runs until 9 p.m. (EST).
While living in New York for a few months in the early 1970s (after my first year of college), I often heard Bill Evans at a place in Greenwich Village, the Top of the Gate, where, for the price of a beer, you could linger all night. Hunched over the piano, he looked at times as if he was about to fall inside and disappear.
Bill Evans, “My Foolish Heart,” live (TV broadcast), Sweden, 1964
Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Fred Hersch, Brad Mehldau: the list of piano players who wouldn’t sound the way they do but for Bill Evans, whose approach to harmony made him the most influential piano player in jazz since Bud Powell, goes on and on and on.
The ‘open’ voicings that [Bill] Evans used [i.e., leaving out a chord’s root note] were not new . . . . They had been there in ‘classical’ music since the early part of the century, since Bartok and Stravinsky. But they were new to jazz, and they opened up melody and flow in new ways.—Martin Williams, The Jazz Tradition (2d ed. 1983)
Bill [Evans] had this quiet fire that I loved on piano. The way he approached it, the sound he got was like crystal notes or sparkling water cascading down from some clear waterfall.
—Miles Davis (in Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe, Miles: The Autobiography )