Bill Evans: A Face Without a Name
A Face Without a Name
Bill Evans (piano)
Intuition (Fantasy OJCCD470)
Recorded: Berkeley, November 7-0, 1974
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
I generally prefer Evans's earlier trio work over the projects he pursued during his longstanding collaboration with bassist Eddie Gomez. Evans often struck me as too comfortable alongside Gomez, and during the 1970s he tended to play the same songs over and over again in his concerts and club performances. Yet the best of the music with Gomez demands our attention, and it is hard to find any Evans recording from this period that does not reward close listening. The pianist continued to advance his craft during these years, but in small and subtle degrees. The way he would anticipate a chord change before the bar or construct a melodic line revealed a penetrating mind that continued to grapple with the music at hands, even if it was a pop standard he had played hundreds of times before. Here he tackles a little known composition by Claus Ogerman with an unusual tempo change in the middle of the form (something that had always attracted Evans—check out, for example, his recordings of Earl Zindars's "How My Heart Sings" for a similar example). Evans is in fine form here, and even though the track stretches out to almost six minutes, one could easily imagine him continuing for several more choruses. It is interesting to note that one of Evans's other standout recordings from the era also comes in the context of a Claus Ogerman composition, the dramatic and sadly forgotten Symbiosis.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia