Monica Zetterlund with Bill Evans – Waltz For Debby (1964)

OriginalFrontCover1This 1964 date that places Swedish jazz vocalist alongside the Bill Evans Trio (with Chuck Israels on bass and Larry Bunker on drums) is one of those oddities in Evans’ catalog. The match is seemingly perfect. Evans’ lyricism is well suited to a breezy, sophisticated songstress like Monica Zetterlund. There is an iciness on this recording, but it is difficult to decipher if it is in the performance or in the engineering where she seems to be way out in front of the band, when she was really in the middle of all the musicians in the studio. This is a minor complaint, however, as the tune selection and decorum of these sessions are quite lovely.

ZetterlundEvansFrom the opener “Come Rain or Come Shine” through the Swedish ballad “A Beautiful Rose” and the achingly gorgeous delivery of “Once Upon a Summertime,” it’s as if Zetterlund were destined to sing with Evans for a career instead of an album. For his part, Evans is very relaxed, allowing the lyrics to feed his musing on the simple, yet elegant harmonics. The Swedish version of “Waltz for Debbie” is a true delight because Zetterlund’s voice becomes another instrument, soloing over the top of Evans’ stunning selection of comping chords. In all this is an odd but special item, one that is necessary — for at least one listen — by any serious fan of the pianist and composer. (by Thom Jurek)

OriginalBackCover

Personnel:
Larry Bunker (drums)
Chuck Israels (bass)
Bill Evans (piano)
Monica Zetterlund (vocals)

AlternateFrontCovers
Alternate frontcovers

Tracklist:
01. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Arlen/Mercer) 4.41
02. Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa (Traditional) 2.54
03. Once Upon A Summertime (Barclay/Mercer/Legrand) 3.04
04. So Long Big Time (Langdon/Arlen) 3.52
05. Monicas Vals (Waltz For Debby) (Wolgers/Evans) 2.50
06. Lucky To Be Me (Bernstein/Green/Comden) 3.40
07. Vindarna Sucka (Traditional) 3.05
08. It Could Happen To You (Van Heusen/Burke) 3.02
09. Some Other Time (Bernstein/Green/Comden) 5.37
10. Om Natten (Adolphson/Reuterswärd) 1.46

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Bill Evans Trio – The 1960 Birdland Sessions (1992)

FrontCover1The legendary edition of the Bill Evans Trio featured impeccable drummer Paul Motian and ill-starred bassist Scott LaFaro; they made a handful of recordings for Riverside, but their only released live sessions came from their final engagement at the Village Vanguard in June, 1961. The release of these airchecks from four separate broadcasts is a welcome addition to their discography. There are three excellent takes of “Autumn Leaves,” with the first kicked off by a long Scott LaFaro solo. Evans offers a stunning seven-minute “Nardis,” which is possibly his earliest live recording of the piece that he would perform and record many more times. LaFaro delivers a compelling solo that only hints at the potential that was extinguished with his death in an auto crash following the famous 1961 Village Vanguard sessions. Even with the noise typically found in releases made from vintage radio broadcasts, this is a historic session worth the extra effort to locate. (by Ken Dryden)

BackCover1APersonnel:
Bill Evans (piano)
Scott LaFaro (bass)
Paul Motian (drums)

AlternateFrontCovers
Alternate frontcovers

Tracklist:
01. Autumn Leaves (Prevert/Kosma/Mercer) 4.56
02. Our Delight (Dameron) 6.38
03. Beautiful Love / Five (Closing Theme) (Young/van Alstyne/Evans) 5.24
04. Autumn Leaves (Prevert/Kosma/Mercer) 6.48
05. Come Rain Or Come Shine / Five (Closing Theme) (Arlen/Mercer/Evans) 5.08
06. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Arlen/Mercer) 4.55
07. Nardis (Davis) 7.26
08. Blue In Green (Evans/Davis) 6.14
09. Autumn Leaves (Prevert/Kosma/Mercer) 7.09
10. All Of You (Porter) 6.58
11. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Arlen/Mercer) 4.38
12. Speak Low (Weill/Nash) 6.48

CD1*
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BillEvansTrio1961

Bob Brookmeyer & Bill Evans – The Ivory Hunters (1959)

FrontCover1When Bill Evans agreed to do a two piano date with Bob Brookmeyer, eyebrows surely must have raised. Pairing a rising superstar of modern jazz with a gentleman known for playing valve trombone and arranging charts might have been deemed by some as a daunting task. Fortunately for the keyboardists, this was a good idea and a marvelous concept, where the two could use the concept of counterpoint and improvisation to an enjoyable means, much like a great chess match. For the listener, you are easily able to hear the difference between ostensible leader Evans in the right channel of the stereo separation, and the accompanist Brookmeyer in the left. The opener “Honeysuckle Rose” gives a basic idea of what to expect, as Evans leads out, Brookmeyer counters his moves, and they trade riffs in an inventive bridge. “The Way You Look Tonight” is similar as Brookmeyer is more playful in his chiming chords and second melody line. The energy level is very good here, as well as on the democratic, funky contemporary intro to the easy swing of “It Could Happen to You” and “I Got Rhythm,” jam-packed with fun plus risk-taking. There’s a different give and take during “The Man I Love,” and they turn the lamp down low on a delicate version of “As Time Goes By” as the pianists trade leads, and bassist Percy Heath adopts a more pronounced role. It is Heath and drummer Connie Kay, on loan from the Modern Jazz Quartet, who precisely and firmly cement rhythmic elements, allowing the pianists to use space, harmony, wit and wisdom to full effect. Some have called this an effort based more on gimmick and showmanship, but if you agree to listen closely, the depth and substance of Evans and Brookmeyer reveals a lot of soul, invention, and musicians simply having a real good time. It would be nice to hear any alternate takes from this marvelous date. (Michael G. Nastos)

 

BillEvans
Bill Evans

Personnel:
Bob Brookmeyer (piano)
Bill Evans (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Connie Kay (drums)

AlternateFrontCovers
Alternate frontcovers

Tracklist:
01. Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf/Waller) 5.52
02. As Time Goes By (Hupfeld) 6.56
03. The Way You Look Tonight (Fields/Kern) 7.38
04. It Could Happen To You (Burke/Van Heusen) 7.27
05. The Man I Love (Gershwin) 5.58
06. I Got Rhythm (Gershwin) 8.28

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