Larry Schneider

Bill Evans Person We Knew

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This duo date by tenor saxophonist Larry Schneider and pianist Andy LaVerne is a tribute to the late Bill Evans, covering both Evans' compositions as well as works by others that he recorded. Evans' problems with drug addiction throughout his adult life are all too well-known, so it almost seems like "Re: Person I Knew" is actually played as a tribute to its composer's struggle with life. Unlike Evans' often rapid fire and melodic interpretations, LaVerne plays an almost dirge-like line to accompany Schneider's almost anguished sounding tenor sax. The duo reverts to a joyous roller coaster ride through Evans' tricky "34 Skidoo" and adds a Latin rhythm to his infrequently played "Orbit." "Time Remembered" is one of Evans' most gorgeous ballads, and Schneider's soulful playing is underscored by LaVerne's shimmering impressionistic piano line. They catch the playful spirit of "Funkallero" and even add Evans' brief signature stag, which he used at the end of each live set. The non-Evans tracks also show plenty of imagination. The choice of "Dream Gypsy" is an inspired one, since it appeared only once in Evans' considerable discography (on Undercurrent, with Jim Hall). The duo improvisation that opens John Carisi's "Israel" is breathtaking, while Earl Zindars' "Elsa" is a beautiful jazz waltz that is also well-interpreted. The thought that went into the arrangements and song selections (as well as the consistently high level of playing) make this tribute to Evans an essential acquisition for anyone who is a fan of his many contributions to jazz.

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