Music of Bill Evans

Mar 13, 2021

Bill Evans
Credit Cross-Eyed Pianist

Sunday Night Jazz Showcase

Program #318 (March 14 at 8:00 p.m.)

Music of Bill Evans featuring performances by Howard Alden Trio, Richie Beirach Trio, Chick Corea, Mitchel Forman and Fred Hersch.

Borrowing heavily from the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel, pianist Bill Evans brought an introverted, relaxed, and lyrical classical sensibility into jazz. Along with his keen technical ability and nuanced sense of harmony, Evans worked to democratize the role of the bassist and drummer in his succession of piano trios, encouraging greater contrapuntal interplay.

After gaining widespread attention as a member of Miles Davis' late-'50s group, Evans garnered further acclaim for his own work, leading a celebrated trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian and recording classic albums like 1960's Portrait in Jazz, 1961's At the Village Vanguard, and 1962's Waltz for Debby, the latter of which borrowed its title from the pianist's best-known composition.

Following LaFaro's tragic death in 1961, Evans eventually forged a lasting creative partnership with bassist Eddie Gomez and continued to perform, working with drummers Jack DeJohnette and Marty Morell.

He earned accolades including Grammy Awards for 1968's At the Montreux Jazz Festival, 1970's Alone, 1971's The Bill Evans Album, and 1979's We Will Meet Again. With the passage of time, Evans has become an entire school unto himself for pianists and a singular mood for listeners, leaving his mark on such noted players as Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Brad Mehldau.

Bill Evans was born on August 16, 1929 in Plainfield, New Jersey and passed away on September 15, 1980 in New York City.

(provided by All Music)