CD review: Bill Evans – Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans 2021: Video, CD cover

- in New CD's Review, VIDEOS

Bill Evans would have earned his place in the jazz history books if only for his role on Miles Davis’ landmark 1959 set Kind of Blue. But the pianist-composer and modal jazz innovator recorded over 50 live and studio albums as a leader before his untimely death in 1980 at the age of just 51, leaving behind a legacy of some of the most beautiful jazz ever committed to tape. In addition to Davis, he also served as a sideman to musicians including Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Charles Mingus, and Lee Konitz.

Now, Craft Recordings is celebrating Evans’ expansive discography with his first ever career-spanning box set. Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956-1980) is due from the label on June 25. The thematically-organized 5-CD box set premieres a previously unreleased live set from 1975 recorded at Oil Can Harry’s in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956-1980) covers many of Evans’ key label affiliations as a leader including Riverside, Milestone, Fantasy, Verve, Warner Bros., and Elektra. (He was so prolific that he also recorded for United Artists, Atlantic, MGM, Philips, MPS, CTI, and Columbia.) Personnel includes Stan Getz, Shelly Manne, Kenny Burrell, and many other boldface names. The first two discs concentrate on Evans’ legendary trios (with whom he released more than 40 LPs). The first CD draws on his Riverside period (roughly 1956-1963) during which time he played with such luminaries as Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers, and Sam Jones, to formally creating The Bill Evans Trio alongside drummer Paul Motian and bassist Scott LaFaro. Upon LaFaro’s untimely passing in 1961 in a car accident, a grief-stricken Evans picked up the piece with musicians including Chuck Israels (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums). The second disc highlights his post-Riverside trio recordings with Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Joe LaBarbera, and others.

Disc Three explores Evans’ solo recordings (both truly solo and with overdubs of himself) including such notable recordings as “Peace Piece” and “Waltz for Debby” and his beautiful interpretations of Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green’s “Make Someone Happy,” Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer’s “Emily,” and Miles Davis’ “Nardis.” The fourth CD delves into his non-trio collaborations including Tony Bennett, guitarist Jim Hall, and pianist/radio personality Marian McPartland. Evans’ quartet and quintet settings also are featured on this disc. The final disc of the box set presents On a Friday Evening, featuring Eddie Gomez on bass and Eliot Zigmund on drums. The June 20, 1975 gig at Vancouver’s Oil Can Harry’s was captured in its entirety for Canadian radio host Gary Barclay, who served as the announcer and later aired the concert on his CHQM Radio jazz show. The original tapes have been restored using the Plangent Process and mastered by Paul Blakemore.

Produced by Nick Phillips, Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956-1980) is housed in a fabric-wrapped, hardcover book boasting 48 pages of photos and ephemera plus new liner notes from jazz historian Neil Tesser. Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956-1980) looks to be a major addition to any jazz library and a deep dive into one of the most influential pianists of all time.

Disc 1: Trialogues, Vol. 1

  1. Five (04:02)
  2. Woody’N You (Take 2) (04:13)
  3. Young And Foolish (05:53)
  4. Autumn Leaves (05:59)
  5. How Deep Is The Ocean (03:35)
  6. Sweet And Lovely (05:54)
  7. Blue In Green (05:24)
  8. How My Heart Sings (04:58)
  9. Re: Person I Knew (05:47)
  10. My Foolish Heart (Live At The Village Vanguard / 1961) (04:57)
  11. Waltz For Debby (Live At The Village Vanguard / 1961) (06:57)
  12. Gloria’s Step (Live At The Village Vanguard / 1961) (06:10)
  13. My Man’s Gone Now (Live At The Village Vanguard / 1961) (06:25)
  14. Swedish Pastry (Live At Shelly’s Manne-Hole / 1963) (05:54)

Disc 2: Trialogues, Vol. 2

  1. Israel (feat. Bill Evans Trio) (04:50)
  2. The Peacocks (06:05)
  3. I Believe In You (feat. Shelly Manne) (05:54)
  4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (04:26)
  5. I Will Say Goodbye (03:30)
  6. Turn Out The Stars (05:51)
  7. Walkin’ Up (03:37)
  8. Very Early (Live At Camp Fortune / 1974) (05:44)
  9. Minha (All Mine) (Live At The Wisconsin Union Theater / 1976) (03:48)
  10. My Romance (Live At L’Espace Cardin, Paris / 1979) (09:17)
  11. Days Of Wine And Roses (Live At The Village Vanguard / 1980) (07:32)
  12. The Touch Of Your Lips (Live At The Keystone Korner / 1980) (05:31)
  13. Someday My Prince Will Come (Live At The Keystone Korner / 1980) (07:20)

Disc 3: Monologues

  1. Peace Piece (06:43)
  2. Danny Boy (10:40)
  3. Make Someone Happy (07:12)
  4. A Time For Love (05:07)
  5. Waltz For Debby (01:37)
  6. The Bad And The Beautiful (02:20)
  7. N.Y.C.’s No Lark (05:39)
  8. Emily (04:56)
  9. Remembering The Rain (04:30)
  10. I Loves You Porgy (Live At L’Espace Cardin / 1979) (07:03)
  11. Letter To Evan (Live At L’Espace Cardin / 1979) (04:52)
  12. Nardis (Live At The Keystone Korner / 1980) (feat. Bill Evans Trio) (06:48)

Disc 4: Dialogues & Confluences

  1. My Funny Valentine (feat. Jim Hall) (05:23)
  2. A Face Without A Name (05:37)
  3. The Touch Of Your Lips (Vocal Version) (03:57)
  4. I Love You (03:48)
  5. Up With The Lark (Live At L’Espace Cardin / 1979) (06:37)
  6. Funkallero (Live In Antwerp / 1974) (06:29)
  7. Who Cares? (05:57)
  8. Body And Soul (06:21)
  9. You And The Night And The Music (07:04)
  10. Time Remembered (06:03)
  11. Night And Day (06:07)
  12. A Child Is Born (07:34)
  13. Peri’s Scope (06:09)

Disc 5: Epilogue

  1. Sareen Jurer (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (06:54)
  2. Sugar Plum (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (07:04)
  3. The Two Lonely People (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (07:42)
  4. T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune) (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (05:10)
  5. Quiet Now (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (05:18)
  6. Up With The Lark (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (06:20)
  7. How Deep Is The Ocean (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (05:53)
  8. Blue Serge (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (05:26)
  9. Nardis (Live At Oil Can Harry’s / 1975) (10:44)

Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans

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