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Collaborations (Bill Evans albums with other artists)





This COLLABORATIONS page is about Bill Evans' albums recorded under his own name with another jazz artist featured. ALSO visit the
EVANS' SIDEMEN page, to find links to information on Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Marc Johnson. Scott LaFaro, Philly Joe Jones, Stan Getz, and others who worked with Bill on various recording projects..


"The Ivory Hunters" (with Bob Brookmeyer)

(on Blue Note)

This is a curious yet very satisfying and fun record too often neglected or glossed over by Evans fans and scholars. Recorded in NYC in March 1959 -- just twelve days after the first "Kind of Blue" session with Miles -- Bill is joined by veteran jazz trombonist Bob Brookmeyer -- here on piano. It's a fun, inventive romp through seven durable pop standards, and reveals a quite adventurous Evans and a surprisingly good Brookmeyer. ("Surprisingly", since piano is not his first instrument). Brookmeyer, of course, went on to be a consummate arranger, leader of one of most exciting big bands in jazz today, and a very thoughtful and enduring trombonist. The two-piano arrangements are calculated for who does what and when, and the contrasts between the two keyboards are a great example of two learned musicians who rarely clash, yet are willing to take chances and revel in the process. The MJQ rhythm section of Percy Heath and Connie Kay keep a nice, consistent backing, and hearing Bill with someone else on piano is quite an experience. Mr. Brookmeyer more than holds his own, providing sturdy, yet often bold and uncompromising voicings, inspired fills and flowing lines for Bill's intelligent solos and chording-- and Bill returns the favor, being rhythmically playful, yet giving great support and adding some playful comments as Bob gets more than just a few good licks in. Every tune is a highlight, so it's a fun ride. Songs: Honeysuckle Rose, As Time Goes by, The Way You Look Tonight, It Could Happen to You, The Man I Love, I Got Rhythm. This record seems to go in and out of print, so check out amazon.com's vendors, or imports.


"Affinity" (with Toots Thielemans)
(Warner Bros Records)

Recorded in 1978 with the legendary jazz harmonica player and composer ("Bluesette"), this album represents several "firsts" for Bill Evans. These are his first versions of Paul Simon's beautiful "I Do It For Your Love", and the standard "Days of Wine and Roses" (Not counting the "V.I.P Theme" muzak record) --two tunes that stayed firmly in the trio's repertoire till the very end. It is also the first Evans release to feature bassist extraordinaire Marc Johnson. This is an essential album -- and some of Evans' most inspired later playing. His use of the Fender Rhodes electric piano on some tracks blends beautifully with Toot's warm melodicism, egging Bill on to some stunning work as an accompanist and soloist -- and the two jazz masters are in rare form throughout. "Affinity" can also boast of one of the most fluid and creative renditions of "Body and Soul" in all of jazz. Tenor player Larry Schnedier is featured on some lesser tracks. Thielemans later regarded the sessions for "Affinity" as his favorite!


"What's New" (with Jeremy Steig)
(Verve Records)

In the sixties, NYC flautist Jeremy Steig lived around the corner from the Village Vanguard in NYC, and used to drop in to play a few tunes when the trio was in town. He had also worked earlier with Eddie Gomez for a time, and was in the forefront of the early jazz-fusion movement in the 70s. It's a straight-ahead program here, with highlights including "Lover Man" and Miles' classic "So What". Recorded early in 1969, with Eddie Gomez on bass and Marty Morrell on drums --his first recording with Evans).




"Stan Getz & Bill Evans"
( Verve Records)

Not considered one of the better sessions by either artist, the playing is competent but uninspired. "Night and Day" is one of the better tracks, and it's interesting to hear the WNEW Radio theme, as well as Getz romping on Evans' "Funkalerro", but the whole thing sounds stiff and dry. Pettinger's bio says both Bill and Stan Getz were disappointed with the results as well, and held release off for many years. Recorded in May 1964 with Elvin Jones on drums why ?) and either Richard Davis or Ron Carter on bass.
(

Fantasy's release "But Beautiful" with Getz and Evans from 1974, is a much better bet.


"But Beautiful" (with Stan Getz)
( Fantasy Records)

Recorded during a 'live' trio performance (with Eddie Gomez and Marty Morrell) on Evans' birthday in August 1974 in Antwerp, Belgium. Jimmy Rowles "The Peacocks" (with just piano and tenor sax) is an inspiring high point. During the show, Getz went into "Stan's Blues" unexpectedly at the concert, and the surprised pianist refused to play on it, visually cluing his bandmates not to solo, either! So right past the first chorus, it's just sax-bass-drums on that one. Getz plays his heart out on it, even though Bill remians silent.

Other tracks like "Emily", "You and The Night and The Music" sound great too. Marty Morell is in exceptional form here, as is Eddie. If you want to hear the lyrical and inspired Stan Getz with the always lyrical Bill Evans, pick this up instead of the one above! (Released after the deaths of both artists)


Cannonball Adderley featuring Bill Evans: "Know What I Mean"
(Fantasy Records)



I consider this a collaboration, since "featuring Bill Evans" is on the cover, however, the sessions were organized by Cannonball around Bill's playing. An exquisite album -- it's all pure magic, with each soloist at his most imaginative and melodic. It's some of Bill's most beautiful early playing. Recorded in 1961 with Percy Heath on bass and Connie Kay on drums, this album is jazz masterpiece.

READ OUR COMPLETE CD REVIEW HERE


"Undercurrent" (with Jim Hall)
(United Artists, now on Blue Note)

Recorded in April and May of 1962, the first of two duo sessions with the brilliant guitarist Jim Hall. Intimate and revealing, with both men listening intently, and never getting in each other's way. Highlights: "Darn That Dream" , Tommy Dorsey's old theme "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and a very swinging "My Funny Valentine" (the CD has an alternate take of this one, and both are revelations). Guitar and piano have long had a somewhat difficult time working in empathy with each other in jazz -- especially in duo format -- both instruments can muddy up the other's middle range. This album should be "Lesson #1" in how to do so effectively. Just a beautiful record all around , with some of Evans' warmest chordal tapestries, and the lyrical fluidity of the legendary master Jim Hall.



"Intermodulation" (with Jim Hall)
( Verve Records)

Recorded four years later in 1966; another intimate duo session with guitar master Jim Hall. "Turn Out the Stars"makes its first appearance on record; another highlight is "Angel Face", wherein a solo fragment Evans played was later was made into the main melodic motif of "Sugar Plum" in 1970. Bill especially liked "Jazz Samba" from this album, saying in an interview that "we could not have got the same result with a full rhythm section. It's hard to get that buoyant moving feeling..." It's difficult to compare this release with the above, since both are exemplary for their intelligent and beautifully passionate iinterplay. They're among the favorites of jazz fans everywhere, and are irreplaceable as examples of the great duo albums in jazz history.



"The Tony Bennett - Bill Evans Album"
(Fantasy Records)

A real gem from 1975, and a warm and surprisingly rich album. It's such a treat to hear Bill's thoughtful accompaniment behind Bennett, as just the two of them take on "Some Other Time", The Touch of Your Lips", "Some Other Time", "Young and Foolish", Waltz For Debby" and others. For those familiar with Bill's other versions of these staples from his book, its fascinating to hear these with what he does behind Tony Bennett, who never sounded warmer and more expressive. Even DOWNBEAT gave it 5 stars when it was released.

***Fans of this album would probably also want to check out"Together Again"-- the second Evans session with Tony Bennett. Originally recorded for Bennett's long defunct Improv label, it's been re- released on Rhino Records with many bonus tracks and alternate takes.

In Spring of 2009, Concord Records released the "Complete Tony Bennett -Bill Evans Sessions", featuring all the original and aternate takes from both sessions.


"Tenderly: An Informal Session" (With Don Elliott)
(Milestone)

This was originally recorded on a mono tape recorder as an informal jam session between two good friends at Don Elliott's Connecticut home circa, 1956-57. Not good sound quality, and surely not a disc Bill would have released in his lifetime, but a fascinating early glimpse into the flowering genius of Bill Evans.

 

READ OUR COMPLETE CD REVIEW HERE



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