Bill Evans “Everybody Digs Bill Evans” (1958)

Track Selection: Minority

Artists

Bill Evans (p) Sam Jones (b)  Philly Joe Jones (d)  recorded NYC, December 15, 1958

Music

Only Evans second album as leader, a  tantalising prequel to the early Sixties recordings of Waltz for Debby and the Village Vanguard sessions. At this early time Evans was recording mainly as a sideman with Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and Art Farmer, still finding his feet. The intelligent presence of Paul Motian and the telepathic communication with Lafaro was still a year away, however the two Jones’s contribution is solid, and gives Evans all the space to shine.

Vinyl: UK Riverside 12-291 mono, DECCA pressing

The idea of a trio as a  partnership of musical equals had not yet found its place in recording thinking. Perhaps the Riverside engineer was expecting a conventional  piano with rhythm section. Philly Joe’s drum kit sounds recorded with one mike pointing in his general direction, rather than treating the drum kit as a number of different instruments, and Sam Jones’ bass is also rather more supporting than in the foreground. So you get lots and lots of Bill Evans, which is nice too.

That gold cover is something else. Just in case you weren’t sure of Bill Evans piano credentials, you get Miles Davis leading the testimonials. All that is missing is the well-known fact that nine out of ten cats who expressed a preference prefer Bill Evans.

Collectors Corner

A more expensive purchase than expected, on account of one sniper more than doubling the price in the closing seconds. Up until that second, it was looking a bargain. It happens.

The Everyone Digs record seems to come to market less frequently than some of Bill’s others, and it is not uncommon for the US Riverside Stereo to command four figures. . Nosing through some Bill Evans successful bidders recent histories, instead of  the usual wall to wall vinyl purchases, I found one with nothing but motor parts, and another with nothing but women’s clothing. Seems Bill Evans followers are a different demographic to the usual vinyl Boppers. Possibly even different gender, though with eBayers, you never can be sure.

As I discovered recently, Ebay sellers are often not all who they appear either. One bizarre exchange of emails recently with a seller called Belinda turned out to be an Albert according to their email, but who signed themselves as Norman, while eBay seller “KateyBluenotes” turned out to be a dour Scotsman, John. You never can tell.

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5 thoughts on “Bill Evans “Everybody Digs Bill Evans” (1958)

  1. “Philly Joe’s drum kit sounds recorded with one mike pointing in his general direction, rather than treating the drum kit as a number of different instruments”

    This wouldn’t be surprising for 1958. Even large studios like Reeves, where this session was recorded, were still using custom built mixers- often modified radio equipment with a limited number of channels. This sometimes precluded using multiple mics for drums and piano. Instead a condenser mic, such as an RCA 44bx, would have to be placed overhead in such as away as to pick up all of the drum equipment, hopefully with some semblance of balance.

    I was just watching the 1959 “Sound of Miles Davis” TV special on Netflix and for that Jimmy Cobb was mic’d using only an overhead RCA 77-DX up high and out in front of the drums.

    I have to say, listening to the clip you posted, I agree with you about the drum sound being a bit ambient. I think the drums sound far better on the stereo mix, which up until now was the only one I was familiar with. Not sure if that is due to levels or if they actually ran two sets of mics for mono and stereo (I know Jack Higgins did this for “Monk’s Music”).

    As for the record itself: I always find it very interesting to see what kinds of pressings for American jazz releases were available in the UK. As soon as I saw the label layout and the square letters used in the matrix numbers, I suspected this might be a Philips/Polydor pressing. You can see a similar Philips label here:

    Also, I googled up “Interdisc” and this Billboard article seems to confirm that they were indeed partnered with Philips:

    http://bit.ly/FRfwU1

    • Always something interesting to add, and such depth of knowledge Mr Strange, thank you. They say in photography, amateurs talk camera brands, enthusiasts talk lenses, professionals talk tripods. In music it seems, “professionals” talk microphone model numbers. I have a lot more to learn before I qualify to wear sunglasses after dark.
      I see from the cutting you linked then Peter Paul and Mary’s “Puff The Magic Dragon” was number 4 in the Hot 100 Chart. Seems only yesterday…such innocent times.

  2. The best Evans lies between his very first and very last years for me.
    I love this one and, for his last period, I recommend You must believe in spring.
    This is the first comment from my brand new iPad, having breakfast at Starbucks.

    • Ah, the iPad2, so slim you can shave with it.
      San Diego. I always thought the best part of a career in medicine is the foreign travel. Wonder if they have any record shops there?
      I am in France right now and I stopped to pick over a couple of boxes of records in an open air antique market. Picked up a 1960 original pressing on French Fontana of the Liasons Dangereuse B.O. – Art Blakey and Barney Wilen. Amazing what can turn up when you least expect it.
      Enjoy the Stabucks.

  3. Very foolish, or very brave, to have those quotes on the cover of one’s sophomore album… fortunately things worked out ok for the young lad 🙂

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