Bill Evans: "Eloquence"
OJCCD-814-2 (Fantasy 9618)

Bill Evans, PIANO
Eddie Gomez, BASS


Just for the record: four of these tracks are duos with bassist Eddie Gomez, two that never made the "Intuition" album, and two left over from the "Montreaux III" duo performance. They are of a high quality and all are legitimately fine performances. Gomez was at the peak of his tenure with Bill, and reads the pianist' s many nuances as if by magic.

The other five selections are Bill Evans solo recordings from the sessions that eventually yielded the "Alone Again" album (released in 1976). A bonus is a brief medley of two Cy Coleman tunes, "When In Rome" (which Evans only recorded once, with Tony Bennett) and "It Amazes Me". These were recorded 'live' at the end of a trio date, with just Bill on piano, at one of his favorite west coast venues, Shelly's Manne-Hole jazz club in 1973. They are, in the last analysis, perhpas still being "worked out" by Bill, but with Evans' legendary perfecrionist tendencies, they are wholly legitimate renditions.

In the solo studio material we can hear him investigating, probing, running through some tunes he knew well, though sometimes tenuously, as we hear. (It's great to once again hear "Isn't it Romantic", which he was doing in the mid-sixties with the trio.)These are obviously tracks not intended for release by the artist. They are not always successful, but they are always fascinating, such was the high caliber of his work.

Somewhat an uneven CD as a whole, since it is a posthumously released album of course, and taken from four different recording situations spanning 1973-75, some live and some studio. However, Bill was hardly, if ever, sub-par. Nonetheless, not unlike the December 1963 solo sessions for Riverside, it is still quite a worthwhile insight into the genius of Evans at work, whether the "prober" or the "achiever".

ŠJan Stevens 2002. All rights reserved.


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