Bill Evans “Bill Evans” (1962)

Track Selection: “I fall in Love Too Easily”  >

Artists

Bill Evans (p)  Chuck Israels (b) Paul Motian (d)

Music

Someone recently introduced me to jazz piano, through Hampton Hawes. Pleasantly surprised that not all piano trios sound like hotel foyer and cocktail lounge background music, I thought it was time to head for the master, Bill Evans. Having already acquired and liked the quintet-based “Interplay”, I discovered when looking to acquire a copy of some of his most regarded trio recordings, “Waltz for Debby”, “Portraits in Jazz” and the “Village Vanguard” series, Bill Evans has a very very dedicated following.  On each auction, only UK Riverside pressings, the price went “Wooosh!!” A glance at Popsike showed US originals in four figures. When I said I liked him, I didn’t mean I liked him that much, at least not yet.(A CD is in the post)

Lowering ambition, a few “lesser” titles came up. Still not cheap, but a chance to get better acquainted with the music, in original vinyl. The self-titled “Bill Evans” struck me as quite a good introduction to the Evans piano trio (Chuck Israels (b) on this outing, not Scott Lafaro). It takes a little getting used to not having brass instruments anywhere. He is also at the romantic far end of the piano spectrum to the more avant-garde Andrew Hill / Cecil Taylor school, and he’s no honky-tonk barrelhouse player either. And he stays in tune. May be he is too good and I am not yet ready for artistry at this level.

Vinyl:

Wait a minute!!

RIVERSIDE 673 008 GERMAN PRESSING Recorded: 1962 This LP, which is simply called “Bill Evans” is actually the German pressing of “Moonbeams”

Bloody Hell!

Dated 1962 on the label (and 1968 in the run out) the Riverside UK press is stereo, and with only three musicians to squeeze into that space between the speakers, it works quite well. Usual quality Riverside recording and pressing.

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2 thoughts on “Bill Evans “Bill Evans” (1962)

  1. Bill Evans creeps up on you, doesn’t he? One minute he’s “take it or leave it” but before you know it, he’s essential. And then you find out that those mono first pressings of the Lafaro/Motown trio are steeply priced if you want one in tip top condition.

    Anyway, I’ve just been lucky enough to be given a Dutch Fontana mono pressing of Moonbeams. And it’s lovely. It comes with a sweet laminated version of the original cover (the one featuring a photo of a young Nico) and Joe Goldberg’s original liner notes. Odd that this German pressing carries a different set of notes written by Ralph Gleason.

    Even though it’s a ballads only LP, interest never wavers with Evans’ piano more dominant than on preceding records, Israels’ bass subtly weaving around Evans and Motian’s stick and brushwork a whispery presence. All the cuts swing, sway and lilt gently into your consciousness for terrific after dark listening.

  2. I’m a big fan.
    Those original Riversides are expensive, but there are some other good options to test the waters. The OJC reissue CDs are analog transfers that sound quite good. The OJC LP reissues are a good value as well and inexpensive. His mid-60′s sessions on Verve (like Trio 64 and 65) are good, and original pressings of those are very reasonable.

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