The Bill Evans Trio: The Very Best Of

BillEvansTrio_TheVeryBestOfShort but well-picked introduction to Evans’ most fertile period

Bill Evans had a long and successful career, but the high point has always remained the trio he formed with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian in 1959. This eleven-track disc selects tracks from four of the trio’s albums, Portrait in Jazz, Explorations, Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard. The latter two, recorded live at New York’s Village Vanguard, were both career highlights and the end of the road; LaFaro was killed in a car accident just ten days after the shows were recorded. Evans returned to the trio format after LaFaro’s passing (with Chuck Israels filling the bass spot), but never again reached the depth of musical conversation engendered by this original trio. Rather than playing as a pianist against a percussion section, the trio played as equals, with each of the players shifting and moving the music of the other two rather than simply stepping up for a spotlighted solo and then stepping back. Though the original albums (or The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings) provide greater depth, this budget-priced sixty-three minute collection is an excellent introduction to the trio’s invention. [©2013 Hyperbolium]

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