Bill Evans

At the Montreux Jazz Festival

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Bill Evans' 1968 release, At the Montreux Jazz Festival, marks the beginning of stylistic changes for the legendary pianist. Only one year earlier, his At Town Hall release found his approach generally more introspective and brooding. In contrast, this set is more lively, playful, and experimental. Much of this is down to the active and intense drumming of Jack DeJohnette, who had joined the trio only a short time before this concert was recorded; longtime bandmate Eddie Gomez is also featured on this album. His energetic soloing adds veracity to tunes such as "Embraceable You" and "A Sleeping Bee." DeJohnette, too, is given several opportunities to display his drumming skills. His lengthy solo on "Nardis" displays his technical prowess and four-way coordination; such acumen would later cause jazz fans and critics alike to hail DeJohnette as one of the world's premier jazz drummers. Evans, famous for a soft-spoken pianistic touch, seems driven to new vistas on this album. He experiments more with harmonic dissonance and striking rhythmical contrasts, making this his most extroverted playing since his freshman release, New Jazz Conceptions.

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