Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#59: Bill Evans - Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961)

I admire Bill Evans - he gets it. His solos are always on, he knows where the line is and he runs up to it at full speed never going over. The real reason I've always considered Bill Evans as one of the greatest jazz musicians to study from was because of his voicings. They're always abnormally thick and juicy.

Man's Gone
Even Bill Evans' comping is unmatched. It's still very melodic and soulful yet it's completely out of the way for his extremely talented bassist, Scott LaFaro. It seems like every lick he plays could be developed into it's own song and this guy is pounding them out like a machine. The drums stay out of the way on this track because between Evans and the LaFaro there's just so much one man can take.

Alice in Wonderland
I find it absolutely delightful. The bass solo specifically has a lot to choose from in terms of really incredible moments. However, when it all comes back in and Evans plays quite simply (for him) it carries such weight because it's such a beautifully written song. That's why Evans is the man, he always plays what's exactly appropriate for that moment. Then again when your voice your chords like Evans, what doesn't sound brilliant?

Jade Visions
The song's header starts quite slowly, quite sombre. When the solo begins the light finds the picture. Throughout the music the darkness returns if only for a moment - just to remind you how beautiful the light was. Then just as quickly as it began the light fades back into the darkness.

All in all, how could you not dig Bill Evans? I understand some people aren't into jazz, but I think anyone with ears would say that this is really, really good stuff. As for jazz musicians Evans is absolutely my favorite. His solos are both out there where you have to pay attention to get it, but simple enough you can just sit back and listen.

Tomorrow's album: John Mayer's Continuum.

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