Bill Evans & Claus Ogerman: Symbiosis




Bill Evans & Claus Ogerman Orchestra


Symbiosis (Pausa 7050)

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Bill Evans (piano, electric piano), Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Bernie Glow (trumpet), Irving 'Marky' Markowitz (trumpet), Urbie Green (trombone), Jimmy Buffington (French horn), Phil Woods (alto sax), Jerry Dodgion (alto sax), Hubert Laws (flute), Danny Bank (reeds), Eddie Gomez (bass), Marty Morrell (drums), Ralph MacDonald (percussion),

John Frosk (trumpet), Victor Paz (trumpet), Mel Davis (trumpet), Paul Faulise (bass trombone), Tom Mitchell (bass trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Bruce Tillotson (French horn), Earl Chapin (French horn), Ray Alonge (French horn), Al Richman (French horn), Peter Gordon (French horn), Walter Levinsky (alto sax), Harvey Estrin (alto sax), Bill Slapin (flute), Don Hammond (flute), George Marge (oboe), Phil Bodner (oboe), Ron Jannelli (clarinet), Wally Kane (bassoon), Don McCourt (bassoon), George Devens (percussion), Dave Carey (percussion), Doug Allen (percussion), David Nadien (concertmaster)


Composed, arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman


Recorded: New York, January 11-14, 1974


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Bill Evans was working in familiar territory on most of his 1970s recordings, playing standards and his own compositions with his trio. But many of his fans looked back with fondness at his works from the 1950s when he had been challenged by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, George Russell, Cannonball Adderley, Charles Mingus and other great musical minds in settings not of Evans's own choosing. Symbiosis, a long orchestral composition by Claus Ogerman from 1974, is a throwback to that earlier period. Evans has his familiar friends, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morrell, in tow, but the music is adventurous and a radical departure from what the pianist normally played in concert. The result is one of the neglected masterpieces of the decade, and a high point in Evans's discography. Ogerman contributes one of the most interesting extended works in the jazz repertoire, and Evans plays at top form. Yet for all its virtues, Symbiosis quickly disappeared from the record stores after its initial release, and it has been years since I have seen a copy anywhere. But thanks to the world of Internet shopping and digital downloads it is now accessible again—and is a must-have for jazz fans who are not familiar with this stellar work.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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  • 1 yo // Jul 04, 2008 at 05:46 PM
  • 2 shelly tumbleson // Nov 25, 2008 at 05:04 AM
    If you're looking for Bill Evans as he was with Miles or even Cannonball, you will be surprised. Hopefully pleasantly so. Symbiosis is a thoughtful work, challenging at times but never, ever dull. As usual, Evans works his way around the musicians who are front and center but when the spotlight comes back to him, he shines with all the brilliance of an August sun. If you like Philip Glass, you'll find something to like here. If you're just curious to see how Evans worked in more of an orchestral setting, you should give this a look-see. One thing i would add is that if your expectation is something along the lines of traditional jazz, you need to be prepared to give this CD about three tries before you draw any conclusions. I honestly believe it's worth the investment.
  • 3 L. Deragon // Feb 03, 2009 at 07:45 PM
    I've been searching for this music since 1978, when a drummer friend of mine gave me a cassette tape containing the 2nd movement of Symbioisis. I fell in love with the piece. The rest of the cassette was a work by Bassist Eberhard Weber, and since nothing was marked on the cassette, I thought it was part of Weber's music, and though I thought it sounded like Bill Evans, I searched through Weber's catalogue and couldn't find the piece. When the movie "Sideways" came out, I almost shouted out loud in the theatre when I heard the music. So I bought the soundtrack, eager to hear Symbiosis. Due to legal problems, that was the only music NOT included in the CD, though it was the love theme of the movie. Now, through iTunes, I have been able to purchase the entire album, and I can't express how happy I am to find this gem. It is a true testament to Bill Evans, but also to Claus Ogerman...what an incredibly heavy musician.