EVANS TRIO ROME CONCERT 1979
My Man's Gone Now 6:30 (George & Ira Gershwin)
2. Bill's Hit Tune 7:30 (Bill Evans)
3. Sugar Plum 6:00 (Bill Evans)
4. Laurie 8:00 (Bill Evans)
5. The Two Lonely People 6:20 (Bill Evans)
6. Polka Dots and Moonbeams 2:40 (Burke-Van Heusen)
7. My Romance 7:30 (Rodgers-Hart)
Time: 44:30 mins.
Available from http://www.jazzmessengers.com/
Approximate cost delivered in the US: 22.90 Euros
MARC JOHNSON -Bass
JOE LABARBERA -Drums
believe it was an old friend, Bill Byam, who first told me of this DVD
of the last trio featuring Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbara. The only
other videos of this trio that I know of are the Jazz at the Maintenance
Shop, recorded in January 1979 and the August 1980 Molde performance
ordering, as has happened before, I discovered I already had a copy
sent from a friend about two years ago. This DVD is exactly the same
concert recorded and broadcast by RAISAT, the national TV broadcast
company of Italy. The Italian broadcast has the RAISAT logo in the upper
left hand corner of the screen. On this DVD, that logo is replaced by
“Impro-Jazz” and the producer and cameramen credits are
omitted. The DVD is mailed from Spain, although this country is never
indicated on the jazzmessengers web site.
far as video and audio quality are concerned, the previous copy I had
is better than this release. First, the speed of playback is slightly
increased making it sharp if you want to play along on your A=440 tuned
piano. My other video copy is directly from the live satellite broadcast,
probably eliminating at least one generation of signal loss. The audio
track is just slightly ahead of the video also. This is minor and doesn’t
really detract from the product. (It is the same on my direct broadcast
version.) What does detract is the increased flutter in the sound. Marc’s
upper register bass playing, like most other bass players, can be slightly
out of tune at times. It is more noticeable here that in my broadcast
addition, there is some severe editing on this release. The introduction
of the first tune “My Man’s Gone Now” was edited,
maybe to eliminate the producer credits that rolled over Bill playing
a few notes for Marc to tune by. This works out well since “My
Man” is in E-minor and the bass is tuned E, A, D, G. Another production
complaint is the way this piano, and perhaps most Italian pianos, are
voiced. They seem to be much brighter in the upper register than German
or U.S. pianos. This is quite noticeable when Bill’s playing solo.
He seems to try for more variety of color than the instrument is capable
of producing. This is evident in the intro to the last track, “My
Romance” and in Bill’s very recognizable intro to his tune
“The Two Lonely People.” For “My Romance” Bill
plays what I call the “full monte” intro, which can be heard
in the Keystone Korner recordings, especially those from the first two
nights (recorded eight months later.) This full intro is available in
a great transcription by Pascal Wetzel in a Hal Leonard publication.
is one strange place in Marc’s first solo chorus where Marc’s
left hand freezes but the sound we hear is him soaring into the upper
register. I don’t think it’s an edit, just a camera glitch.
The arrangement of “My Romance” had gone through quite an
evolution by this time. After playing the solo piano intro in Ab for
three choruses Bill modulates to the key of C and the trio comes in
for one chorus. Then Marc and Joe LaBarbera alternate solo choruses
in different tempos, each adjusting to the other’s tempo choice.
Then Bill comes in and joins them. After a few bars there is added applause
and a quick fade-out. Unless the listener is familiar with this trio’s
extended treatment, it will seem as if the tune is ending. Of course
the trio went on for another four or five minutes of great music - which
you won’t hear on this product. Make sure you listen to any one
of the eight different versions recorded on the Keystone Korner dates
(recorded just before Bill passed away) to hear the entire thing. This
edit was also on my earlier version, but came a few seconds later after
the closing credits played -- and there was no added applause, just
the quick fade-out. From these obvious edits we can conclude that this
product was once owned by the RAI and either sold to, or otherwise appropriated
by Impro-Jazz for this DVD.
The location of the recording is still a mystery – it was not
indicated on my broadcast video. The room seems to be like a small cave,
with tiered theater-type seating, maybe holding thirty-five people at
the most. No one was drinking and there was absolute silence during
the music. Two, possibly three cameras were used and the shots were
fairly professional for the most part. There are some audience shots,
particularly of one short guy in a striped suit, who might be the late
Romano Mussolini, son of the famous dictator and a decent jazz pianist.
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4676934.stm) The shots of Bill
are good in that any picture of the master’s hands are good to
have and worthy of study.
Except for the aforementioned technical flaws, the music is good and
the DVD is a far superior video product of the last trio when compared
to the “Jazz at the Maintenance Shop” release. This is a
great period in Bill’s career, and is comparable to some great
audio CDs ,such as the Buenos Aries recordings and “Homecoming”
to name two. The price of about $33 U.S. makes it a worthy addition
to your Bill Evans collection.
Hinkle is a professional bassist, a Bill Evans scholar and was a consultant
to Peter Pettinger, author of the biography "How My Heart Sings".
He was the editor of the hard copy newsletter quarterly "Letter
From Evans" during the 1980s.
Also - Read Win's review of "Bill Evans Plays Standards" here