Bill Evans: Solo - In Memory of His Father
Solo - In Memory of His Father
Bill Evans (piano)
Bill Evans at Town Hall (Verve 831 271)
Bill Evans (piano).
Composed by Bill Evans.
Recorded: Town Hall, New York, February 21, 1966
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
Two weeks before Bill Evans was scheduled to make a live recording at Town Hall, his father, Harry L. Evans, died suddenly in Ormond Beach, Florida. Evans considered canceling or postponing the concert, but instead went ahead with the event, but composed an extended solo work dedicated to his father to be premiered at Town Hall. The central section of this 14-minute composition later surfaced as the song "Turn Out the Stars," but Evans would never play it with more warmth or beauty than on this live performance. This pianist is well known for drawing on the inspiration of impressionist classical composers such as Ravel and Debussy, and in this setting these influences come to the fore. If you lifted out the improvisation, the rest of this piece could show up in a concert hall recital and most listeners would hardly realize that it was supposed to be jazz. No wonder the great interpreter of Ravel, Satie and Debussy, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, has added this Bill Evans composition to his repertoire. Evans was such a brilliant interpreter of popular standards and so prolific in his output, that it is hard to have many regrets about his recorded legacy; nonetheless, I am disappointed that he didn't do more extended works of this sort during the 14 remaining years of his life.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia