Bill Evans: Elsa
Bill Evans (piano)
Explorations (Riverside RCD-9351-2)
Recorded: New York, February 2, 1961
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
During the final studio session by a short-lived but long-loved trio, Evans and LaFaro were reportedly so miffed at one another they weren't speaking. At least, not verbally. Musically, however, they (and Motian) were sublimely in sync, and nowhere more so than on drummer Earl Zindars's lovely waltz tribute to his wife, "Elsa." Beautifully recorded by soundman Bill Stoddard, Evans's piano simply sings, from delicate single-note passages to masterfully subdued block chords. With LaFaro mercifully keeping his monstrous technique in check, and Motian providing his customary sensitive support, the piece belongs to Evans, and his performance belongs to the ages.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz