This Bill Evans session followed close on the heels of the Scot Lefaro tragedy of summer 1961. Struggling to break in the new trio, confronting a spiraling drug habit, and depressed over the loss of his musical and spiritual partner, Evans, during this period, sounded weary, subdued, and somewhat vanquished.
Yet this long overlooked session should not be missed. Evans, though not playing at the peak of the recent studio and live (Village Vanguard) dates, seems to have transcended the tragedy and found new depths. His playing is lax, his piano sounds distorted, but the album's color and sensitivity is unmistakeable; and with the moral and musical support of flautist Herbie Mann, bassist Chuck Israel, and drummer Paul Motian, he had certainly produced a work that could stand comfortably among the rest
The composition choices reflect the mood of the session. Sati - a well known lover of the rain, of alcohol and of darker, more mystical landscapes of sound - seems an apt choice to underpin this pensive album; the title track, Nirvana, with its Buddhist soul-searching allusions, mirrors Evans' own search of the time.
Yes the recording quality is a bit scrappy, yes there are better Evan's albums out there, but the significance of this recording for fans is unmistakable. It is an important document of a particular moment in time - a moment of crisis, and of musical rebirth, and one that you will not be disappointed to share.