I bought this CD from Amazon based purely upon some customer reviews I'd read. It didn't grab me I'm afraid and it sat on my shelf for over a year whilst I considered selling it. Then one day, being a mean type, I thought I'd better try to get some enjoyment out of it since it had cost me money! Well, it took over a year but I have to say this album is quite sublime and all the better for not being immediately appealing. I have gone from disappointment, through indifference to finding it to be one of the most rewarding albums in my collection. You have to wonder at such beauty coming forth from such sadness - 3 of these songs after all have some connection with the suicides of friends and family. A heartbreakingly beautiful album that I know I shall treasure for the rest of my life.
If you like Bill Evans in his more romantic and reflective modes, this beautiful album belongs in your collection, next to Moonbeams and Undercurrent. Not that there's anything hazy or soft-centred about the music: the trio swings infectiously on the title track and on the theme from "M*A*S*H", and on the slower, more introspective pieces Evans's intense concentration gives his lines a strength and clarity even when the playing is at its most delicate. There's a great depth of emotion in his playing of a kind which, on other albums, you find on some tracks but rarely sustained throughout the album, as it is here. It's a nicely constructed programme consisting of memorable tunes like "Sometime Ago" and the two previously mentioned, as well as some haunting, 'other-wordly' material such as "B Minor Waltz" and "Gary's Theme". Like any jazz musician Evans could sometimes fall back on his favourite clichés to "mark time" during an improvisation, but on this session he is at his most alert and inventive, thinking through his ideas and producing some flowing, searching melodic lines. Bassist Eddie Gomez is in excellent form, blending his lines with the pianist's with remarkable empathy and Elliot Zigmund is a compatible drummer who adapts his playing thoughtfully to the different moods and character of each piece. Good recording, which showcases the rapturous, singing qualities in Evans's playing and his subtly graded tone, dynamics and pedalling. This is a very special, very highly recommended album. Yes, it is rather short measure for a CD; but sometimes it's true that "less is more". The music itself is beyond price.
It was pure Serendipity when amazon sent me the wrong CD. I had ordered something else completely but this was in the case, and what a delight. Luckily I was already a Bill Evans fan and had the 'Waltz for Debby' and 'undercurrent' with Jim Hall and I must say that I think that this CD may even surpass those classics. So what are you waiting for .... do yourself a big favour and purchase this at once!
I've got a few Bill Evans albums and this is one of my favourites. Reading through Bill's biography there is a whole mountain of records available because of the number of projects that he worked on, the most famous being Kind of Blue, and also the amazing number of live recordings from Europe and America. On this album he is in his familiar trio format recorded in the studio in 1977 but released after his death (I think) in 1981. The other two musicians are Eddie Gomez and Eliot Zigmund who perform to a high standard. For most people Bill Evans's playing is characterised by tone and his own chord voicings. On this record the piano sound is marvellous. The piano playing is fantastic and the songs are great. If you are looking to try some jazz but are worried by being confronted with a wave of dissonance give this album a go. You may end up by starting a Bill Evans collection and there's plenty to chose from.
All the other reviews of this fantastic record are bang on. I first heard this many years ago and keep coming back to it because, the music aside, it is such a brilliantly recorded record. The recording really captures the essence of Bill Evans - the romanticism, the long lines, the clarity with which he hits the piano keys, his little phrases that stay in your head, the singing nature of his melody lines (he simply plays notes 'right' he doesn't waste time with embelishment). The support is wonderful too - hear gomez's bass lines on 'peacocks' - like two friends having a conversation over dinner.
I would recomend this album to anyone interested in bulding up a jazz collection and if you have heard bill evans before and not got this I would urge you to consider buying it - it really does show of the man's talents - listen to some of the chords hang in the air on the sustain pedal - absolutely essential listening.
Beeing a music-mad of all kind and used to distinguish them in good or bad (according to my taste) I hesitate to write this few words, but as I think this record is so special I have to give it the Amazon's five stars plus the ones in the Universe. By the way, this is THE record that I would take to that desert island... along with my wife (when I asked her she answered without hesitation: Bill Evans "You must believe in Spring" ). When I want to give something really special to a friend (and how friends are special to me), this is the one. THANK YOU BILL EVANS, EDDIE GOMEZ and ELIOT ZIGMUND for letting me know how BEAUTY sounds.
Bill Evans is a giant among pianists and his recordings are a legacy of some of the best trio work ever recorded in jazz. His early work with Scott LaFaro is legendary, but his mature pianism has rich rewards. His recordings with bassist Eddie Gomez are some of his all-time best ones, particularly this sublime trio with Eliot Zigmund on drums. Some of the drummers Evans used, like Marty Morrell, are a bit busy for my taste, but here Zigmund gets it exactly right. He is inventive and fresh yet never dominating, and his playing is full of interesting nuances. There is a very high level of sensitivity and musicality in this trio, almost a sense of classical chamber music. Every note has a purpose - there is no show or bravado, and Evans seems as comfortable and relaxed as he ever was in a trio setting. Just a lovely album and a delight to listen to for the work of all three musicians.