12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful and thoughtful trio playing at its best!,
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!