The two LP editions recorded at this Paris concert were the last examples of Bill Evans' playing to be released at the time. With bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe La Barbera, Evans had one of the strongest trios of his career, as can be heard on such pieces as Edition One's "My Romance," "I Loves You, Porgy," and "Beautiful Love." The close communication between the players is reminiscent of Evans' 1961 unit with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian.
Taking as their inspiration the Greek myth of Orpheus, European improv king Evan Parker (tenor and soprano saxophone) and Invaders of the Heart alumni Clive Bell and Jean-Pierre Rasle invest in a series of stark, repetitive bass and drum structures on Passage to Hades. At the music's core is the rhythm axis of Jah Wobble and Mark Sanders. The duo maps out the territory, delivering all that's required and more through minimal means. It's a refreshing change of scenery for Parker, who's normally heard in avant-garde ensembles or blazing solo performances. Here, he's confined to a stark, muscular groove and he responds beautifully. Like the later recordings by John Coltrane (an early influence), the saxophonist unleashes an abundance of dialog on his instruments, though he never quite reaches the torrents of sound one might expect.
Tzadik is proud to present this historic meeting of four major figures in the new music pantheon, each a master improviser and groundbreaking instrumentalist in their own right. Their work together is symbiotic, telepathic—the music powerful and sensitive, sustaining a hypnotic mood with great attention to detail and subtle nuance. Mixed to perfection by Bill Laswell, this is a landmark recording of electro-acoustic improvisation featuring four pioneers of the genre. Mindblowing!
Recorded during pianist Bill Evans' last visit to England (less than two months before his death), Evans is heard with one of his finest trios on Letter to Evan, the unit with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe La Barbera. The recording quality of the live set (recorded at Ronnie Scott's) is excellent, and Evans is in surprisingly enthusiastic and creative form; there is no hint that the end is near. Highlights of the very worthwhile release include "Days of Wine and Roses" (which alternates back and forth between two keys), "Knit for Mary F.," and "Stella by Starlight." Easily recommended for true Bill Evans fans.
THE COMPLETE BILL EVANS ON VERVE is an 18-disc, 269-track box set featuring every track that Bill Evans recorded for Verve between 1962 and 1969, including 98 previously-unreleased tracks. It includes a 160-page, full-color book. THE COMPLETE BILL EVANS ON VERVE was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package - Boxed and for Best Historical Album. The 18 CDs in this exhaustive set provide a comprehensive picture of Bill Evans from 1962 to 1969, a period when the pianist was both consolidating his fame and sometimes taking his music into untested waters, from unaccompanied piano to symphony orchestra. His work with multitracked solo piano, originally released as Conversations with Myself and the later Further Conversations with Myself, was the most remarkable new format for his introspective music. It gave Evans a way to be all the pianists he could be at once–combining densely chordal, harmonically oblique parts with surprising, rhythmic punctuation and darting, exploratory runs.