Bill Evans

Jazz Showcase

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Of the initial offerings in Fantasy's Jazz Showcase series, the Bill Evans volume is probably the most valuable to the newcomer, for a number of reasons. For one, it is a good single-disc summary of The Complete Riverside Recordings box, touching down on many of his best performances as well as some of his most famous recordings, such as "Waltz for Debby," and a swinging "In Your Own Sweet Way," and the lovely unaccompanied homage to Erik Satie, "Peace Piece." It was in this period where the Evans' idiom, trio format, and harmonic stamp were cast pretty much intact for the rest of his life, and this consistency not only makes the Riverside years easy to anthologize concisely, it gives the listener a more rounded idea of what Evans was about than do, say, the Miles Davis or John Coltrane volumes. Besides the inevitable abundance of trio material -- including four tracks from the esteemed Scott LaFaro/Paul Motian edition -- we also hear from the quintet with Freddie Hubbard and Jim Hall on "Interplay," and a Cannonball Adderley-led quartet on "Know What I Mean?" (oddly enough, Adderley's name is inadvertently left off the personnel lineup).

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