Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings! (1962) Riverside

Track Selection 1: Summertime

Track Selection 2: Show-Type Tune

Artists

Bill Evans (p) Chuck Israels (b) Paul Motian (d) recorded NYC, May 17 &29, 5th June , 1962 recording engineer Bill Shwartau

Music

Taken from the same sessions which formed RLP 428 “Moon Beams”. Chuck Israels settling in as replacement for bassist Scot Lafaro, who died the previous year. Israels is no light-weight. He holds a steady supportive bass, while Paul Motian washes, fills and colours, anchoring the rhythm section to let Evans shine.

AllMusic puts the technical words together better than me:

Summertime” … sounds so different with its mid-tempo opening and Israel’s flaunting bass vamp in front of the piano. When Evans gets to the melody he is following the swinging skip of Motian ‘s drums, and he digs deep into inverting the melody line with a slew of arpeggios and short, choppy phrases”

You think you know “Summertime”? The tune has the barest outline, more in your memory than the recording. That is the beauty of Bill Evans, the seemingly effortless, perfectly placed cascade of notes darting in and out, tugging at, dancing on top of the melody, always a surprise and delight, like the taste of fine champagne.

Vinyl: UK Riverside RLP 473

Mono UK Riverside first release. Evans recorded for Riverside up until 1962, with “How My Heart Sings!” the last but one of thirteen titles before signing to Milestone and Verve, and eventually Fantasy. Riverside UK releases were initially pressed by Decca, but eventually shifted to Phillips, who pressed this one in Holland.

Atmospheric, chiaroscuro cover. Against the conventions of portraiture, Evans gaze leads out of the picture, creating a visual tension as the viewer seeks to “make sense” of what Evans can see that they can’t. The catch-lights on the glasses add to the sense of place. Great portrait.

Sorry download people, acolytes of the Evil Silver Disc too, there is nothing like a physical Sixties glossy laminated beautiful record cover.It doesn’t matter that you can fit 50,000 songs in a matchbox-size microdrive, you can’t fit this in anything except a large IKEA Expedit cabinet.

It’s a personal thing, but I find hand-held devices invite you to flit from one track to another, I’m as much a victim as anyone else. There is always another track to skip to, one better than the one you just chose.  Combine infinite choice and fear of missing out  with a fickle attention span and you lose sight of the integrity an album, its artistic intent.

The artists are at a particular stage in their development, the music is in the style of the moment, the influences all around it.  Helpfully, vinyl requires you sit still and absorb twenty or forty minutes of that artist and material. Active extended listening is how music should be heard – absorbed organically, through the skin.

The Matrix

Phillips Dutch pressing, mono

 

Collectors Corner

Source: eBay Location: UK

Sellers Description: Record VG+ Sleeve Condition: VG

Evan’s Riversides offer a solid body of his work. The LaFaro titles have the most frightening telepathic three-way communication, but the Israels Trio is strong in its own way, and easily overlooked in the stampede for the Village Vanguard sessions and Waltz for Debby. It is also therapeutic for a change to listen to music without a horn playing. Sort of whets the appetite.

UPDATE 15/09/12:

Guy thinks he can see a figure in the catchlights. Decide for yourselves – I can just make out a figure  on our left – I guess the photographer –  in a white T-shirt framed by the window of the room.

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11 thoughts on “Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings! (1962) Riverside

  1. A mono UK Riverside copy of this beautiful record has just this minute arrived at my door…this is my third UK Riverside Bill Evans record…I also have Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Portrait in Jazz (also both mono)….I have some of the US versions too like Everybody Digs and they are fantastic..but there is something so special about these 60’s UK laminated sleeved UK copies..really beautiful…As mentioned above many thanks to you Mr London Jazz Collector for this very special website.
    Mark

  2. Just got a stereo US original of this one. Would love to hear the mono someday. Walkin Up is a great composition by Bill, Summertime is totally different, yet still somewhat familiar, and Chuck Israels was about as good a bassist you could get after Scott LaFaro.

  3. Wow it would appear the photographer caught in the image of Bill’s glasses was ‘photo bombing’ before that phrase even existed, pretty cool!

    I’m checking out a blue mono copy of “New Jazz Conceptions” right now. Not sure how to describe it, but the sound isn’t great – the piano sounds wobbly and there’s some decay on the notes that just seems off. Not sure I’m doing the description justice or not. Anyway, I read up on Hoffman’s page and apparently Bill recorded at a different studio (Bell Sound) on “Know What I Mean?” which is an album that sounds better than some of the other Bill Evans Riverside albums. Just curious if anyone had any thoughts on all of this. Were there that many other Bill Evans recordings made at Bell Sound or was that more of an exception to the rule?

  4. Thanks for posting. I think I speak for most young jazz pianists when I say Bill Evans is pretty much a superhero in musical terms. I love the take of ‘Walking up’ on this record. One of my favourite of Bill’s compositions.

    • Thanks for your comment, it raises a big question for those of us who love music. In the shadow of great musicians, Parker or Evans, Coltrane, whoever, how do the next generation have the confidence to move forward. You have my admiration.

  5. If you magnify the cover picture you can see Daleks reflected in his glasses. No wonder he’s looking concerned.

    Beautiful music, thanks for taking the time and trouble to do all this.

    Guy

    • Thanks Guy. I have updated the post with a close up of the catchlights on Bill Evans glasses, following on your suggestion, it would seem a Timelord is involved, as the Daleks were introduced in Doctor Who in 1963 whilst this picture was taken in 1962. Sherlock Holmes eat your heart out. Daleks were into extermination – more the heavy metal type.

  6. Great record. I totally agree, this trio and the next version with Larry Bunker are underrated. Although there is some demand for the LPs, they thankfully don’t come with a high price tag.

  7. I have an original Riverside stereo pressing of this (wonderful) record, and it features fearsome spiked edges – they are like gear teetch. Can’t seem to discover which plant pressed it, but those teeth are something to behold.

    • Welcome JoeL!
      I have some Liberty pressings with the same serrated edge. They dont sound any the worse for it, but it is a trademark of one pressing plant, so far unknown. When you are used to flat and smooth edges, its pretty wierd.

  8. Dear Sir, I’ve commented here on several occasions, but I always forget to thank you for the quality of your album sleeve reproductions. They are one of the greatest (if not THE greatest, for me) joys of visiting this place! Keep it up!

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