"BILL EVANS: PIANO PLAYER"
Sony/Columbia Legacy Recordings
featuring : Miles Davis Quintet (with Bill Evans,Paul Chambers, Jimmy
Dave Pike (Vibes) with Bill Evans, Herbie Lewis, bass, Walter Perkins,
George Russell Orchestra
Bill Evans with Eddie Gomez
Bill Evans with Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell
A review by
This is one of SONY/Columbia Legacy
releases that combines material on that label from a few sources:
selections recorded under Bill's name in his short association with
Columbia, tracks from a Dave Pike (vibes) album, one from Miles
Davis' "Live at The Plaza" and an alternate "All
About Rosie" from an early George Russell Orchestra setting.
There is much material here that's very strong, but Evans aficiandos
may debate, as they have before, regarding the inclusion of some
of the works-in-progress duo tracks with Eddie Gomez. According
to the bassist's touching essay in the liner notes, these tracks
were "recorded rehearsals" from November 1970 and were
done five months before the trio of that time -- with drummer Marty
Morell -- would record all Evans-penned compositions for what becamethe
Bill Evans Album" in 1971 on Columbia (a previously unreleased "Fun
Ride" from those dates is included here, and is a fun
treat; Bill providing some humorous codas!).
We hear John Lewis' standard"Django" in an extended outing
with Evans and Gomez not yet quite settled in, as they work through
various tempos, but Bill's lightning -fast chops are evident throughout.
It's a bit laborious. for sure. Gomez is on electric bass (!) on
"Morning Glory", and by his own admission, it was probably
a weak experiment, especially considering his amazing prowess on
the acoustic. The other tunes, including "Comrade Conrad",
"Waltz for Debby" and "T.T.T" -- all of
which would appear on the upcoming Columbia release -- show Bill
and Eddie in lively interplay, just rtehearsing, with Evans on the
Rhodes here and there, and though just working through arrangements,
they're nonetheless fair, yet experimental representations of this
period in their careers.
That being said, there is still interesting playing here to satisfy
even non-hardcore Evans fans. A highlight is the Miles Davis "My
Funny Valentine" (with just Miles and the rhythm section, sans
Coltrane and Cannonball), taken from the "Jazz at the Plaza"
performance in 1958, and hithertofore unreleased. Although a less
than satisfactory recording quality gets in the way -- almost a
"fake" sounding stereo spread is evident -- we get to
hear 'live' Bill Evans with Miles in a intriguing intro to this
well-worn standard; a staple in the Davis repertoire for years to
Also quite exciting is this alternate "All About Rosie"
solo from George Russell's compositional suite done at a Brandeis
University concert in the late 50s, which is no less stunning than
the one Evans fans are quite familiar with.
Most of these other tracks are worthwhile --and for Evans completists,
and perhaps jazz historians, all the more interesting.