Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
One of the best Bill Evans samplers
MikeG | England | 06/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Another Bill Evans compilation from the Verve label. How many stars you think it deserves depends how much you want this selection rather than the albums (all available at the time of writing) from which they come. The tracks are from sessions recorded between 1962 and 1968. If this seems a limited scope, in fact one of the potential attractions of the disc is the variety of the material, representing Evans in solo, duo, trio and overdubbed settings as well as with orchestral accompaniment. Another potential attraction is the range of musicians, including an intriguing line-up of bassists and drummers and, on one track, guitarist Jim Hall.The solo piece is "I Loves You, Porgy" from the 1968 album `Live at Montreux'. On that album the sound is a bit cramped and some distortion gives it a rather `metallic' edge - but it's not poor enough to prevent enjoyment of a fine performance, less introspective, more intense and impassioned than the trio version on the 1961 Village Vanguard `Waltz for Debby' album. The one duo track is "I've Got You Under My Skin" from `Intermodulation', the second duo album Evans made with Jim Hall. It's an enjoyable track that swings along with some nicely dovetailed interplay between the two instruments. The disc gives us 5 (possibly 6) different Evans trios, none of them the best known - unless exception is made for the trio with Chuck Israels and Larry Bunker which toured Britain and Europe in the mid-60s. Their "Elsa" (from `Trio 65') is slightly brisker than the more measured, wistful versions on `Explorations' and on the quartet album Evans made with Cannonball Adderley. It has an appealing blend of lyrical feeling and rhythmic subtlety and is well recorded. Even more infectiously swinging is "Little Lulu", a trite but engaging tune from `Trio 64'. Of particular interest is the contribution of the virtuoso bassist Gary Peacock, who later became a long-serving member of Keith Jarrett's Evans-inspired `Standards Trio'. The other member of Jarrett's trio, drummer Jack de Johnette, turns up (with bassist Eddie Gomez) on "A Sleeping Bee", another swinging up-tempo piece. He proves to be one of the most forceful of Evans's drummers. Maybe his and Gomez's strong playing is partly what brings out a greater assertiveness in Evans, on this track and elsewhere on the album from which it comes (`Live at Montreux', 1968). The ballad, "My Foolish Heart" is the version recorded at the fine `Town Hall Concert' of 1966 - one of Evans's best albums for Verve - with Chuck Israels and Arnold Wise on drums. It's not as dreamily poetic and introspective as the Village Vanguard version of this tune but it has its own expressive beauty. The earliest of the trio performances is "I Believe in You" from the album `Empathy', which Evans made with bassist Monty Budwig and the excellent, inventive West Coast drummer Shelly Manne. It's an especially lively, witty performance; the clear recording and stereo separation of the instruments helps you to appreciate the sparkling interplay between the musicians.There are three pieces from `Conversations With Myself', the first album on which Evans employed the technique of `overdubbing' three simultaneous tracks of himself playing and improvising on a set of themes. Several times over the years, I've tried to like this music but without much success. I can appreciate the technical skill involved in the enterprise and some brilliant playing; but whenever I find myself enjoying something in any of the pieces, I end up feeling that I would enjoy it more if the `other' pianos didn't get in the way. However, another possible advantage of this compilation disc is that it gives you a chance to sample from that album two finely wrought ballad pieces - "Love Theme from `Spartacus'" and "Round Midnight" - and the up-tempo "How About You" which builds up a driving impetus that sounds at times like a boogie-woogie performance. If you like these three pieces you will almost certainly like the rest of `Conversations With Myself'. Maybe one day I will too.And then there are the two pieces that feature Evans with a `symphony orchestra' playing Claus Ogerman's arrangements of two `classical' pieces. Both begin with slowish, romantic statements of the themes by the pianist followed by the orchestra, then lead into an up-tempo improvised section by the Evans trio, ending with trio and orchestra combined. "Granados" is based on the piece, "The Maiden and the Nightingale" by Enrique Granados. The section by the trio is in waltz time and is markedly faster than the theme itself, creating a sharply contrasting mood and atmosphere. "Pavane" is a well-known theme by Gabriel Fauré which became even more famous several years ago when it was pressed into service as the football World Cup theme. Again, the trio's section moves into up-tempo, though the contrast with the opening tempo is less dramatic than on "Granados". There is some good playing from the trio on both pieces (with Israels on bass and either Larry Bunker or Grady Tate on drums). The orchestral contributions are a matter of taste - in my opinion mostly more `easy-listening' than `symphonic' in style, but in their way quite sensitively played and well-recorded. If you like these two tracks I think you will like at least most of the complete album from which they come.I'm normally a bit lukewarm about Evans compilation albums, but for the reasons I've given I think this one of the better ones. It might not select the `best' tracks from the various albums, but the general standard is good and it's an interesting and quite wide-ranging selection. I`ve enjoyed listening to it for years, especially on the car stereo; and I've also gone on to buy seven of the eight albums it selects from. You might also be interested in reading my Amazon reviews of two other Bill Evans compilation CDs: `Jazz Showcase' and `Quiet Now/Never Let Me Go'."
Good Starter Album
Robert J. Ament | Ballwin, MO United States | 07/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's a little intimidating since I have read a professional critic's review of this cd as being a "disgrace to his memory" (Evans). Obviously the man was deep into the superb artistry and reflective stylings of Bill Evans so many of which are now released as digital remasterings. However, one has to start somewhere and this particular cd (one of a series by various artists on Verve) serves a distinct need for the jazz fan......you and I. As such this was my low budget introduction, used, at that, eight years ago.I still play this and find it a good compilation of Evans with such artists as Jim Hall, Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Shelly Manne and the orchestral accompanyment under the direction of Claus Ogerman. Also included are three cuts from "Conversations With Myself". All twelve selections range from 1962 thru 1968.If you are wondering about the music of Bill Evans and his style of piano, this may be a good place to start.....it was for me!"