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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and thoughtful trio playing at its best!, 27 Aug 2005
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Mr. Dominic L. Brown (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Audio CD)
The Village Vanguard, in New Yorks' Greenwich Village, has been offering a stage to some of the most influential jazz artists since 1935, and has become legendary for the regularity with which truly great performances seem to occur there. Other than the recordings upon which this wonderful album is based, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and many others have found the inspiration for some of their most powerful sets here.
When the Bill Evans Trio arrived at the club to play the tracks recorded here, they had already been playing together for two years, but were virtually unrecorded, a result of Evans' phobia of commiting anything to record before it was absolutely perfect. This is evident from the start. The group shares an almost telepathic sense of musical expression and direction, and they play as a true trio.
Scott LaFaro is exceptional on bass, and this album marks the peak of his unique style - he plays with, rather than under Evans, enhancing and harmonising, and constantly reacting to the piano, without ever overwhelming Evans' wonderfully delicate expressions. The album features two of LaFaro's own compositions - "Gloria's Steps" and "Jade Visions", both are testament to his skill as a composer, and make his untimely death 10 days later in a car wreck all the more tragic. He was 23.
Throughout the album Evans displays remarkable finesse, and we can hear the exceptional articulation and control which, with his wonderful sense of harmony and rhythm, make him one of the most important Jazz pianists ever to have lived. His style, with the color added by Paul Motion on drums and LaFaro's prodigious skill produces truly beautiful and emotional music, which is exciting despite its mellow nature.
There is little point in discussing the solos on this recording - such is the sense of the group working as a whole that the solos are almost seamless and you get the sense of the others stepping back, rather than the soloist stepping forward. To add to this sense, some of Evans' solos are so perfectly in tune with the group sound, and each note so absolutely "right", that it is almost impossible to tell exactly where the improvisation begins and ends...sublime.
Please listen to this exceptional album, you will not be disappointed!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Trio Music, 23 Aug 2005
This review is from: Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Audio CD)
This is Bill Evans' most famous trio playing their most famous concert, a few weeks before the tragic death of Scott LaFaro who this record is a tribute to (the songs that best showed LaFaro's compositional and improvisational brilliance at the concert were chosen to make this record, the remainder of the material appeared on Waltz For Debby). Bill's playing is eloquent as ever, and it's often difficult to tell where he's improvising, so perfect are the notes he chooses. LaFaro's solos are also mindblowing, not just technically but melodically, the amount of expression he brings to a 'difficult' instrument like the double bass. My only complaint is that the sound is a little biased to the bass end (for obvious reasons) and it tends to overpower the piano, making you listen more to the bass than the melody. Like many jazz albums though, repeated listenings help clarify the music's flow.
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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars in heaven, 7 Dec 2002
By 
CS (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Audio CD)
I first listened to this album with a large glass of the good French red stuff in my hand. The combination was a match made in heaven. This album has the same body and depth of an excellent wine and it merits the same respect. Tears sprung to my eyes (but then I had had a few by then). This album is outstanding.
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Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Sunday at the Village Vanguard by Bill Evans (Audio CD - 1998)
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