February 21, 2024

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Bill Evans had changed by very early ’70s and interview: Videos, Photos

Bill Evans had changed by early 1972. The pianist who looked like a gaunt accountant in the 1960s sported a mustache by 1971. A year later, his hair was college-campus long, and he also sounded different. Instead of playing with shy, lyrical patience and lots of space, Evans sounded more agitated in his keyboard attack.

This visual and artistic transformation has been attributed to a wide range of factors, from jazz-rock fusion’s atmospheric influence to his growing frustration with the pianos he had to play while touring more extensively and his increased use of cocaine. Whatever the reasons, a marked intensity and crankiness had crept into his music.

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Bill Evans Trio At Helsinki, Finland 1970, interview excerpts

Two videos give us rare glimpses into this newly emerging Evans, a period that I’ve referred to in liner notes as his “percussive poet” phase. The first video features Evans around February 1972 in Paris in front of a live audience, with Eddie Gomez on bass and Marty Morell on drums. I believe it’s film that was for a French TV show called Jazz Session

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The second video was taped with Gomez and Morell in late June or July 1972. The show was called The Jazz Set and was hosted by Chris Albertson. It aired on PBS nationwide. In an interview during the show with Albertson, Evans refers to his forthcoming Living Time album for Columbia with George Russell. He says that he and Russell had just mixed it. Since the album was recorded in May ’72, the time frame here is likely early summer…

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Bonus: Blood, Sweat & Tears playing Bill Evans’s Time Remembered

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