Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
At His Best
Edward Abbott | Stuart, FL USA | 09/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although recorded in August 1967, this was not released until 1982, some two years after his passing. Bill thought these live sessions were not up to his standards and so the masters were shelved. His initial response was that he was regressing or copping out. At times Bill was ever so over critical of his art.
I knew about these sessions in 1967 and kept waiting, and kept waiting, and kept waiting for the new Evans album I knew was coming, but never did.
I always liked Bill Evans live recordings as he put forth so much artistry in the live setting as opposed to some of his studio work.
I had pretty much given up quest for this album and shoved it in my mind to the pending file. Verve was of no help at all, and said the session was never recorded. Only because a friend of mine was at the Village Vanguard at the time, did I know for certain it was indeed recorded.
A few years later, 1982 to be precise, I was visiting a high end audio salon, auditioning speakers, that were suppose to be the holy grail of speakers at the time. In the adjacent room I heard definitely a Bill Evans Trio recording. So I wandered to that room and listen with the other customer. We both just chilled out listening. Finally I ask what LP was that. He showed me the album. It was Bill Evans at The Village Vanguard 1967. Holy crap!! where did you get this? He had just bought it a couple of weeks back and was using it as a demo record. Piano music is always the most difficult for a speaker to reproduce, due to that instruments wide ranging harmonics and octaves.
So at long last these sessions finally surfaced some 15 years later and some two years after Bills passing. Yes I chased right down to my local record store, only to find out they did not have a copy. So I had to special order the Album and wait a week to get it. This two LP set has that special forever place in my library.
Why Bill considered these sessions not up to his usual standards, remains a total mystery to me. This trio with "Philly" Joe Jones and Eddie Gomez in my opinion put on a tour de force session that I never tire of listening to. I am quite happy that this Evans is on CD and have to put it on my want list. I only hope the transfer to digital has not lost any of the magic of the 2 LP original I have.
Without question this is a must have in the Bill Evans canon. I can only thank Helen Keane that she finally decided to have this released. I understand her devotion to Bill Evans at the time though."
Fly By Light | Atlanta, Georgia | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Evans did not want this record released - it first hit stores after his death. I would guess that he considered this a step backwards in his career. The level of interplay on the original Village Vangard recordings set a high standard that this session never quite attains. Relatively few bass and drum solos create a piano-centric dynamic reminiscent of Evans' first two albums (Conceptions and Everybody Digs...) However, viewed in isolation, this is a great album. Evans plays with a bottomless reserve of flair end energy, with nary a weak moment or wasted note. "Philly" Joe Jones keeps the fire lit under Evans all night long (this is a LONG single CD) and throws in a few memorable rhythmic curve balls. Gomez's solos sound surprisingly like Scott LaFaro. Though it never tops Sunday at the Village Vanguard, California Here I Come compares very favorably with Evans' early trio recordings."