Search - Bill Evans :: Homecoming

Bill Evans
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

This is an important new addition to the Bill Evans canon, and while it is not the ideal place for aural pilgrims to make their initial acquaintance, longtime fans of the piano innovator will be quite moved. Homecoming mar...  more »


Larger Image
Listen to Samples

CD Details

All Artists: Bill Evans
Title: Homecoming
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Milestone
Original Release Date: 3/30/1999
Re-Release Date: 6/1/1999
Album Type: Live
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Cool Jazz, Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 025218929127, 090204703326

This is an important new addition to the Bill Evans canon, and while it is not the ideal place for aural pilgrims to make their initial acquaintance, longtime fans of the piano innovator will be quite moved. Homecoming marks the return of the prodigal musical son to his alma mater, Southeastern Louisiana University, on November 6, 1979, some 29 years after he graduated with honors. Evans plays with enormous musical authority, achieving an enhanced level of harmonic density and rhythmic power, reflecting in equal parts the emotions he was feeling that evening, his growth as an artist, and the unique chemistry between the pianist and his newest collaborators, drummer Joe LaBarbera and bassist Marc Johnson. Johnson, while quite comfortable with the contrapuntal melodic style of Scott LaFaro and Eddie Gomez, plays with more heft and bottom than his predecessors; and LaBarbera is likewise more earthy and grounded than Elliot Zigmund or Marty Morrell. Together they bring a fatter, more expansive group sound to such unlikely cover tunes as "Song from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)," while essaying Evans originals like "Very Early" with a broad range of dynamic gestures. The you-are-there ambient quality of this homemade recording is quite good, which adds a poignant touch to the immediacy of the moment, because less than a year later, Evans passed away at only 51. --Chip Stern

Similar CDs


CD Reviews

Classic Evans
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have quite a few Bill Evans CDs. I feel that he is the greatest jazz pianist(sorry, Thelonious and Mccoy). This effort is a great example of his later recordings. Enjoy the classic discs such as "Waltz For Debby" and "Sunday At The Village Vanguard". Then fast forward to this one. You won't be sorry."
Another documentation from Bill's final year
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 03/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As other reviewers have suggested, the music is remarkable, the audio far less so. So much of the music of Bill's final trio has come to light that some listeners may be forgiven for being selective. Bill would rework many of the same songs over and over, the quality of music and performance so consistently high that collectors who are not "completists" may wish to pay more attention to audio quality and make this date a lower priority.

This performance is of special interest because it finds Bill returning to his alma mater where, he announces, he spent two of the happiest years of his life. Two of his former professors are even in the audience in the same hall where he performed his graduation recital, an all-classical program. Bill sounds more "outgoing" and perhaps more exhuberant in his playing as well as in his spoken remarks to the gathered audience. A highlight for me is Bill's performance of "But Beautiful" by Jimmy Van Heusen (a composer Evans and Sinatra held in equally high regard).

The audio sounds like something a member of the audience may have recorded using a high-quality portable machine. All three instruments are "distant," giving the listener a strangely "you are there" experience. (Some may actually enjoy this perspective compared to the usual one of being "on stage" with the musicians.)

Bill's final trio was arguably as strong as his storied '61 trio with LaFaro and Motian--a more expressionist, more emotive version of the earlier trio, less Debussy and more late Ravel-Rachmaninoff. Perhaps some of its "dark and disquieting" quality is qualified and lightened by the ceremonious occasion. Collectors new to Evans may wish to look first at "The Paris Concert," Edition One (offering an unusually strong solo performance of "I Loves You Porgy"), or Highlights from "Turn Out the Stars," for recordings of far greater professional quality, placing the listener right in the center of the action instead of in a seat at some distance from the stage and source of the music. The final number on the program, "Someday My Prince Will Come," finds Bill demonstrating the astonishing virtuosity that arguably only he was capable of at the time (Oscar Peterson certainly could have negotiated the same runs at the same speed, but who else could do so while playing so "deep" into the keys?). Surprisingly, the audience is somewhat restrained (in awe?), applauding more loudly for the ensuing solo by Marc Johnson.

The disc concludes with a "pre-concert" interview of Bill, who in addition to sounding mentally sharp is unmistakably feeling generous, grateful to the school and its teachers, and rightfully proud--though as was so often the case in his later interviews he comments on the lack of support for jazz, at least for the music of artists as uncompromising as himself. There are some fine moments on the disc, but in sum it's a recording that paradoxically gives us a personal "portrait of the artist" while being undeniably remote in its representation of the artist's labors."
Just about as good as it gets.
Richard Thurston | Seattle, WA | 07/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Contrary to what some have written the sound quality on this release, while not up to modern studio standards, is perfectly acceptable. More important, the performances by Evans and his young trio mates are simply wonderful. This band, including Joe Labarbara on drums and a youthful Marc Johnson on bass, was to be Evans' last group and the level of interplay and creativity they reached is compared to the first great Evans trio with Paul Motian and Scott LaFaro. The exuberance and pleasure with which Evans performs 'Up with the Lark' and 'Midnight Mood', to cite but two examples, is indication of the comfort and trust shared with the two younger musicians. Not necessarily a place to begin if new to Evans (complete Turn Out the Stars & complete Riverside recordings are essential) but required for the completist. Highly recommended."