Alan Pasqua on Bill Evans - JazzWax

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September 20, 2011


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I agree with Jan about the merits of "New Conversations." I agree with Marc that any attempt to emulate Evan's recordings is bound to fall short. However Bill's tunes can be great vehicles for artists to do their own thing with. Tierney Sutton's "Blue in Green" has six Evans tunes and nine standards, all of them done her, and the band's, own way. Her version of "Very Early" is especially striking. Howard Alden's "Your Story" has wonderful interpretations of eleven Evans compositions.

Joel lewis

Pasqua is one of the very few jazz musicians who ever played with Dylan. sadly, his place in the Dylan discography is during the much-derided Street-legal phase. As documented on the "Live at Budokan" phase, Dylan is either a)paying homade to the recently departed Elvis by emulating a Vegas-type sound or b)trying to make a lot of money quickly following his divorce & the disasterous releae of his film renanldo & Clara by trying to make a highly commercial sound. The drummer on these recordings is Ian Wallace, who led the Crimson Jazz trio which did two albums of jazz intreps of the King Crimson Songbook (of which was Wallace was one of their many drummers). Dylan they fully jumped the shark among hard-core fans by then heading into his hard-Christian phase, the Jerry Wexler produced Slow train Coming.

Ed Leimbacher

23 skidoo, kid. "Ape jobs"? Stand-in for King Kong? Monkey House attendant? Filling in for chimp with a cold on some NASA test flight? Wait, I know... paid extra in the latest Planet-of movie! And your reward, the gorilla your dreams.

But semi-seriously, Marc, I don't get the gist of your last paragraph. Tribute album is first mistake, overdubbing is #2, wrong songs is 3rd strike, and #4 is... playing solo? Isn't that the given condition driving point 2? You overdub to enhance the complexity; you are no longer exactly solo, having become two pianists busily improvising lines around each other instead.

Or did you mean that Bill preferred to work in the trio format? Overdubbing actually allowed him to, sort of, have it both ways.

James Cimarusti

In addition to the 2 CDs metioned by David above, there are also the Bill Evans tribute albums by the Kronos Quartet, Jean Claude Thiboudet, and John McLaughlin which are worth a listen.


I like Paul Motian's tribute to Evans featuring Frisell, Lovano, and Marc Johnson.


New Conversations was an experiment... I don't think Bill Evans would ever have imagined people debating it's value through a screen. And for that matter, it turned out pretty darn well. There aren't too many piano players from his era, let alone in the history of jazz, that could play 6 hands at once and not 'overdo' it. Evans always sounds tasteful in every note he plays, which is a good sign of his genius.

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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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