on 4 March 2003
This enjoyable album is from the first recording session by Bill Evans’s “second trio” of 1962, with Chuck Israels taking over as bassist after the death of Scott La Faro. The session produced two albums, the all-ballad ‘Moonbeams’ and this one, which mainly features medium to up-tempo numbers. Nevertheless, as Evans said in his original liner notes, the trio aimed to produce a “singing” approach to all the material it played. So along with the lively, skipping rhythms on such tracks as “Summertime” and “In Your Own Sweet Way” and the more driving swing on the Evans originals, “Walking Up” and “34 Skidoo”, there’s a lot of tuneful improvising throughout. The combination of this “singing” approach with the trio’s rhythmic vitality is especially obvious on the title track, an attractively lyrical jazz waltz, on the affectionate parody, “Show Type Tune” (another Evans original), on “I Should Care” and on one of the less well known Cole Porter tunes, “Everything I Love”. The latter is one of my favourites for the way Evans in his playing of the tune manages to convey the lyrical feeling of a slow ballad at a moderately swinging tempo.
Even at this early stage in his residence with the trio, Chuck Israels was proving a highly compatible partner, creating well-constructed lines both in “duet” with the pianist and in his solos. Paul Motian’s drumming is mainly relaxed and at times almost self-effacing but always blending closely with Evans and Israels. Evans also pointed out in his liner notes how easy it would be to underrate Motian’s contribution until one tried to imagine what the music would be like without it.
Despite the obvious differences of mood and tempo between this and the companion album, ‘Moonbeams’, it has similar virtues of subtlety and thoughtful interplay within the trio.