Bill Evans: Autumn Leaves (1959 - take two)


Autumn Leaves (Take 2)


Bill Evans (piano)


Portrait in Jazz (Riverside RCD-1162-2)

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Bill Evans (piano), Scott LaFaro (bass), Paul Motian (drums).

Recorded: New York, December 28, 1959


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Four years after Roger Williams’s vertiginously arpeggiated #1 hit, Bill Evans redid “Autumn Leaves” with vertigo supplied by his sideman. This session marked the recording debut of Evans's startlingly original trio featuring Scott LaFaro, the Earl Scruggs of acoustic bass. The interplay between Evans and LaFaro is astounding, but so is the robustness of Evans's playing. Weighing in at the tail end of 1959, this came just in time to stand as the decade's finest jazz piano trio recording.

Caveat: In 1960, without explanation, Riverside simultaneously released Take 1 (5:54) on the stereo LP and a shorter, superior Take 2 (5:19) on the otherwise identical mono LP, spawning decades of confusion. As recently as 2001, for its newly remastered 20-bit A/D converter with digital K2 interface (whatever that means) CD reissue, Riverside compounded the confusion by listing Take 2's timing as 3:19 instead of 5:19, as if such matters were too trivial to get straight. Lord have mercy!

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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