Tag Archives: Bill Evans

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Nov 14

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue


As this series starts to near its end, I have to start thinking about making sure I get the really canonical albums on here, thus, this one.

Honestly, it may BE the greatest jazz album ever. It may be the best ALBUM ever. Who knows? It’s certainly otherworldly gorgeous. I couldn’t find a fault with it if I tried, and I wouldn’t change a note if I could.

If you’ve never read Bill Evans’ original liner notes, please do so now:

“There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.

The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation.

This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflections, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician.

Group improvisation is a further challenge. Aside from the weighty technical problem of collective coherent thinking, there is the very human, even social need for sympathy from all members to bend for the common result. This most difficult problem, I think, is beautifully met and solved on this recording.

As the painter needs his framework of parchment, the improvising musical group needs its framework in time,. Miles Davis presents here frameworks which are exquisite in their simplicity and yet contain all that is necessary to stimulate performance with sure reference to the primary conception.

Miles conceived these settings only hours before the recording dates and arrived with sketches which indicated to the group what was to be played. Therefore, you will hear something close to pure spontaneity in these performances. The group had never played these pieces prior to the recordings and I think without exception the first complete performance of each was a “take.”

— Bill Evans

365 Days of Album Recommendations – June 28

Bill Evans – Interplay


I, like “everybody,” also dig Bill Evans.

Thanks in small part to his fundamental quietude, and largely due to his jazz sensei liner notes to Kind of Blue, Bill Evans has taken on a kind of holy bodhisattvic role in the history of modern jazz, emerging as a sort of a zen shaman of the Soto school; playing Dogen to Bud Powell’s wild-eyed Rinzai passions, or Monk’s Bodhidharma eccentricisms.

While I have come to really appreciate what Evans and LaFaro achieved together, I prefer Percy Heath on this album, and of all the Evans-Jim Hall collaborations, this is my favorite.

In fact, this may just be my favorite Evans album all the way around. I listen this version of “You And The Night And The Music” at least once a week. It’s just so good.

Listen, you should. And you too will see why Everybody Digs Bill Evans.

%d bloggers like this: