Bill Evans: Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956–1980) (Craft) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Bill Evans

Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956–1980)


Aug 06, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

From originals such as his signature “Waltz for Debby” and early masterwork “Five,” to collaborations with genre luminaries Miles Davis and Stan Getz, the mammoth Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans box set chronicles the influential jazz pianist’s illustrious career, beginning with selected material from his debut album and closing with nine live tracks recorded several years prior to his untimely death in 1980.

The first retrospective of its kind, the 60+ songs included in this five-disc collection paint a portrait of an immense, albeit tormented, talent burning brightly over the span of two and a half decades. For the listener, the experience is complemented by a comprehensive 48-page booklet complete with black and white photographs of the artist and liner notes by Grammy Award-winning writer and broadcaster Neil Tesser, along with quotes from Evans admirers and collaborators such as Chick Corea and Tony Bennett.

Entitled Trialogues, Vol. 1, Disc One highlights Evans’s work from 1956 to 1963, featuring favorite “Blue in Green,” Evans’ sublime 1959 collaboration with Miles Davis, as well as his distinctive cover of “Autumn Leaves” and one of Evans’s personal favorites, “How My Heart Sings.” Also included are performances of George Gershwin’s “My Man’s Gone Now,” and Bill Evans Trio bassist Scott LaFaro’s “Gloria’s Step,” recorded live at New York City’s Village Vanguard jazz club in 1961, as well as a 1963 performance of Barry Kessel’s “Swedish Pastry” at Shelly’s Manne-Hole in Hollywood. Most notable on Trialogues, Vol. 1 are the cohesive performances of the Trio, complete with the dynamic presence of LaFaro, whose sudden death in 1961 exacerbated Evans’s longtime heroin habit, and precipitated his months-long hiatus from performing.

The second disc, Trialogues, Vol. 2., explores Evans’ career as it evolved between 1962 and 1980. The Trio’s 1965 rendition of John Carisi’s “Israel” is a standout, with LaFaro’s replacement Chuck Israels bringing a sense of cool-headed patience to the increasing complexity of Evans’ style. The crisply atmospheric “Peacocks,” featuring the masterful Eddie Gomez on bass, went unreleased in Evans’s lifetime, but stands as one of Vol. 2’s richest numbers, as does the wistful “I Will Say Goodbye,” and Evans’ 1967 Village Vanguard performance of “Turn Out the Stars,” a live cut from the largely underrated California, Here I Come.

Disc Three, Monologues, consists largely of solo piano works, spanning the whole of his career. Here, Evans’ miniaturized rendition of “Waltz for Debby” remains strong, and original composition “N.Y.C.’s No Lark” lends a certain air of liveliness to a predominantly blue collection of songs. Disc Four, Dialogues & Confluences, features collaborations with other prominent musicians, including Stan Getz, Tony Bennett, Cannonball Adderley, Jim Hall, Philly Joe Jones, and Eddie Gomez. Bennett delivers on the duo’s beguiling 1975 rendition of Ray Noble’s “The Touch of Your Lips,” and Getz’s wailing saxophone warmly accompanies Evans’ piano on the animated “Funkallero.” Dialogues & Confluences is especially interesting as a display of Evans’ ability to work fluidly with other major artists, a skill essential to the progress of his career and eventual prominence in musical history.

Epilogues is a set of nine previously unreleased live recordings of a show performed at Canadian jazz club Oil Can Harry’s in June 1975. These unearthed gems are well worth the entire collection, revealing Evans at his most intimate. Accompanied by Eddie Gomez on bass and Eliot Zigmund on drums, we hear the three deliver a stirring performance well deserving of the listener’s attention. As demonstrated not only on Epilogues, but the retrospective as a whole, the utter brilliance of Bill Evans can still surprise.

While his career was brief in comparison to some, the legacy of Bill Evans endures well beyond his premature death at age 51, and the inspiration found in his expansive body of work would take many other artists a lifetime to attain. The extensive package of Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans makes for a necessary and wholly satisfying collection not only for any jazz aficionado, but also for the casual listener interested in exploring the inimitable work of a genuine American master. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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