Bill Evans: My Foolish Heart


My Foolish Heart


Bill Evans (piano)


The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 (Concord Records)

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

Composed by Victor Young and Ned Washington


Recorded: Village Vanguard, New York City, June 25, 1961


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

"My Foolish Heart" is another landmark performance from the June 25, 1961 live recording at the Village Vanguard. This trio altered the rhythmic essence of modern jazz with its use of space and time. This was evident in virtually every track recorded at the Village Vanguard on this date, but the ballad performances are especially noteworthy. I am unaware of any previous piano trio attempting a ballad at such a slow tempo -- if the beats were any farther apart you might doubt that there was any strict tempo on this track.

Many otherwise stellar 1950s and 1960s jazz bands would have died trying to attempt this in live performance. But Evans, Motian and LaFaro are liberated by this slo-mo approach. This ballad breathes in a way that few jazz performances have ever achieved. If musicians such as Parker and Gillespie showed how jazz could move faster than anyone thought possible, this trio achieved the same extraordinary results at the other end of the metronome range. But, as with other Evans tracks from this period, the music itself is much more than an experiment or attempt to prove some theory about jazz performance. The sheer beauty of this version of "My Foolish Heart" transcends its origin as a sentimental soundtrack theme from a Hollywood film and transforms the piece into art song of the highest order.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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