Bill Evans and Joe Puma - JazzWax

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December 20, 2010


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Allen Lowe

I was very much unaware of Puma's work until, at Evans' funeral (1982?), he played a solo piece, and it was one of the most perfect and touching things I have ever heard. Beautiful player.

Bill Kirchner

Joe Puma and Bill Evans remained good friends for the rest of Evans' life; they used to go to the racetrack together. In fact, Puma recommended drummer Joe LaBarbera to Evans for the pianist's last trio.

I heard Puma and guitarist Chuck Wayne live in the '70s in a fascinating duo. They did an LP for the Choice label; I doubt that it's made it to CD.

Jan Stevens

Interesting to note: The track "Mother of Earl" was written by Bill's good friend Earl Zindars. This LP with Joe Puma was it's first recording. It is best known from its inclusion on "Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival" (Verve, 1968)

Larry Kart

On that Choice LP that Bill Kirchner mentions, Puma takes a superb solo on "Body and Soul."

A story about the Wayne-Puma duo. They were playing at a club in upstate New York, maybe Rochester, and the then young storyteller became friendly with Wayne, who asked if he would come by next day to the motel where he and Puma were staying and take Wayne to a golf driving range. The storyteller asked if Puma might like to come along, and Wayne said something along the lines of "He just sits in his room all day, practicing and drinking."

Win Hinkle

I had heard of these tracks but never listened to them. Thanks for the links. It's wonderful to see such great scholarship about some great overlooked music of the great American Jazz Piano Master, William John Evans. Marc shows reverence and respect for the music.

O'Sullivan, "Red"

Your felicitious reference to Shearing here is not at all incidental, rather "crucial"! Glad to see it, of course.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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