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Bill Evans

Bill Evans Trio "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" on RLP 376

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Bill Evans Trio "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" on RLP 376

Jazz trio bliss…

So, I found a beautiful copy of this masterpiece to replace my white label promo copy in lesser condition sooner than I was expecting. I couldn’t be happier with this copy. It’s in very nice shape, both the vinyl and the jacket. This album, together with “Waltz for Debby” on RLP 399, are my favorite jazz trio albums by far. There are of course other very nice trio sessions, but these two, for me, are a level or two above everything else I’ve come across. The empathic chemistry between Evans, LaFaro and Motian is something I haven’t heard anywhere else. And LaFaro’s double bass work is the best I’ve heard as well. The whole concept of letting the double bass take center stage on these albums is something I absolutely love. And LaFaro makes it so interesting with his technical and lyrical brilliance. I believe his playing is one of the main reasons this trio was so special.

Just put this record on the turntable, lean back and soak in the magic that happened live at the Village Vanguard in New York City on June 25th, 1961. Close your eyes and pretend you’re there in the club, sipping on a drink and just relaxing.

I have quite a few other Bill Evans albums on the want list such as “Explorations” on RLP 351 by the same trio. Also, his later trios with bassists Chuck Israels and Joe Gomez are great. There are many Evans albums worth seeking out.

At the moment I’m looking forward to spending some time with my family over Christmas. We have a vacation overseas coming up then and every penny will go to that, as well as a summer vacation. So, I will find it hard to purchase a lot of expensive albums for a while. Let’s see if any albums that are more moderately priced, like many of the Impulse! titles, shows up and maybe I will be able to squeeze one or two in before the summer.

In the mean time I have my little treasure of superb albums to enjoy. I was thinking of that actually this morning, when I saw an image of a huge collection, that my collection is small compared to many other collectors, but very nice indeed. And the amount of albums I have is enough for me to enjoy at the moment. I won’t ever find the time to listen to a 1000, 2000, 3000+ albums. There are just so many hours in a day. And I believe that keeping a massive collection with thousands of titles, many which are just collecting dust, is not for me. Also, all the albums I puchase has to be top notch music-wise to me, otherwise I don’t buy them. I’m never going to buy albums just to complete a series of a label for example. There are probably several titles in a series that I can do without, you know? I pick the titles I really enjoy and that’s that.

What do you consider a good number of albums in a collection, that you actually listen to and can enjoy? Would you consider to try and complete a series of a label? Maybe collect a whole discography of an artist? How do you collect is the question.. :-)

Enjoy the weekend folks. It’s cold, dark and damp here in Stockholm right now. Maybe I’ll crack open a nice porter or stout this evening… stay tuned for more vintage jazz albums.

Cheers!

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Waltz for Debby by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 399

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Waltz for Debby by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 399

In my humble opinion this is the best jazz piano trio album of all time, together with RLP 376.

It's been a while since the last post. Sorry about that. A summer vacation and life in general got in the way. But now I'm back after a long hot summer. Sitting here at home with a sore throat and aching muscles; the first cold of the season. But I'm keeping my spirits up with the album on display here. This has got to be the greatest piano trio album of all time, together with Sunday at the Village Vanguard on Riverside 376, which I've also acquired recently. There are really no other piano trio albums that can match these live sessions from 1961, recorded superbly by Riverside. They are in a league of their own. It feels like you are there in that club, relaxing at a table with a drink, when you listen to these albums. They really captured the live feeling amazingly well.

Much of the magic bassist Scott LaFaro brings to the table. His playing on these albums is truly one of a kind. Probably the best double bass I've ever heard. So what does that make him, the best jazz double bassist of all time? Despite his very short career? For me, the answer is yes. This trio had such an amazing feeling and flow. LaFaro was given a lot of space and could really express himself. I believe LaFaro made this trio so magical. Bill Evans is superb and Paul Motian plays great and has a sweet touch. But the star is LaFaro. Without him it wouldn't be the same. The concept of this trio though, where the double bass gets so much room and where the interplay between all three members is so profound, is pure genius.

My copy of this masterpiece on RLP 399 is in wonderful shape and sounds excellent. One of my absolute favorite albums for sure. Like I mentioned, I've acquired Sunday at the Village Vanguard on RLP 376 as well. Recorded live the same day as RLP 399. A white label promo copy which should have been in better condition than it was when I received it. I can listen to it, but it has far too much pops and tics for my taste. I couldn't return it, which was a bummer. But my mission now is to not buy another album until I find another copy of RLP 376 in much better, satisfactory condition. I think that's a healthy approach. Very cool though to have a promo copy of that title.

I thought it would be interesting what you guys think of these Vanguard recordings and if you, like me, think they are the best piano trio recordings ever made. Also, in your opinion, is Scott LaFaro one of the best if not THE best jazz double bassists of all time? If not, do you have another favorite? Love to hear what you guys think regarding these matters.

Autumn will soon be here for real and the time for candles, stouts and jazz piano trios that comes with it. And what better jazz piano trio to put on the turntable than the Bill Evans Trio live from the Village Vanguard. Stay tuned for more jazz vinyl from the collection and have a great weekend. Cheers...!

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"Portrait in Jazz" by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 315

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"Portrait in Jazz" by the Bill Evans Trio on Riverside 315

A top jazz piano trio album, perhaps my favorite to date.

I started this morning with a dose of Art Pepper. Side 2 of Modern Art on Intro. A nice way to get this beautiful Saturday afternoon on track. A bit of interesting information; the alto intro on the tune "Stompin' at the Savoy" is a bit longer on this original 1st pressing than on other issues or formats I believe. Don't know about the Score issue. On other issues, it seems that the unaccompanied alto solo in the beginning of "Stompin'..." has been cut shorter. That's pretty cool, to think that you actually need the original pressing to get to hear that, as it was supposed to be. Just another reason to stick to 1st pressings.

It's been a while since I posted last. I've been on vacation to California with the family. But let's get things going here again...

My relation to piano trios in jazz has grown very strong in the last couple of years. I truly dig that format, even though if I would choose one record to take with me to a desert island, it would probably have a horn or two on it. One of the best jazz piano trio albums I've heard to date is the one on display, Bill Evan's "Portrait in Jazz" on Riverside 315. It's a 1st pressing in nice shape. The cover is a bit worn but the vinyl is in M- condition. Sounds phenomenal. The drum sound for example is some of the best I've heard. Every detail is clear. You really need these kind of delicate, quieter albums to have the vinyl in top condition, so nothing distracts from the smooth tones of, in this case, the piano master Bill Evans. To be honest I haven't dug deep into his catalogue as of yet, but this album is a perfect way to start. I've listened to some other early stuff as well, and it's very good indeed.

This is just the first of many Bill Evans records to find their way into my collection I would think. The rhythm section is one of the best I've heard with Scott LaFaro on double bass and Paul Motian on drums. They gel unbelievably well together and also gel and compliments Bill Evans with 100% feeling and accuracy. I would say, if you're just starting to appreciate jazz piano in trio form, then this is the album to pick up. It's so smooth and flowing, and with a superb sound mix. Jack Higgins was the engineer on this. What a great job he did, flawless. Right now, as I write this, I've just put on Side 2, and what a smokin' tune, it's "What is This Thing Called Love?". I really feel that I want to invest in some other piano trio albums. This LP just makes you forget about horns of all kinds. It's that good. I have a few on the list that comes to mind, for example Tommy Flanagan's "Overseas" on Prestige and the Sonny Clark Trio on Blue Note. Also, some more early Bill Evans on Riverside is really appealing.

I'll look forward to the autumn with great joy, cause I have some real gems waiting for me. I will soon be able to purchase the first one. It's a wonderful, rare album. Tune in for that. But I will put up some other stuff from the collection in the mean time. Stay cool in the shade, sip on a cold one and listen to some jazz. Enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

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