Bill Evans was frequently recorded when he traveled abroad for radio broadcast or by fans; numerous CDs have appeared of the pianist's trio from tours during the final year of his life. This 1979 Buenos Aires concert features Evans with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joe LaBarbera, in a well-recorded set that is from either a radio broadcast or soundboard recording. Originally issued as a two-LP set on Yellow Note not long after the pianist's death in 1980, it was subsequently reissued by Westwind in 1990 as a two-CD set and again by the label in 2003 with a different cover.
The concert is a mix of old and new, including favorite standards, one pop song, plus both original and favorite jazz compositions. Following the sparkling opener "Stella by Starlight" that begins with an abstract piano solo and leads into an engaging trio arrangement, Evans offers his delicate new ballad "Laurie" (dedicated to his girlfriend) and a rousing take of Johnny Mandel's "Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)." Evans' dramatic, poignant "Turn Out the Stars" was always an audience favorite and this version does not disappoint. The pianist became enamored of Paul Simon's "I Do It for Your Love," recording it on his album Affinity and continuing to play it in concert during the remaining years of his life. "Letter to Evan" is another original, delicate ballad, dedicated to his young son Evan (who would grow up to become a musician and soundtrack composer).
The second disc opens with one of the pianist's favorite Gershwin songs, "I Loves You Porgy." It's followed by Jerome Kern's "Up with the Lark," another favorite standard that showcases the tight interplay of the trio. Johnson's intuitive bass work and La Barbera's brushes stimulate Evans' hard-charging rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come." The closing number is an inevitable part of most Evans' concerts of his latter period, an introspective interpretation of Miles Davis' modal masterpiece "Nardis," featuring all three musicians playing individual solos, with a fiery conclusion. While there are many fine recordings available of the last edition of the Bill Evans trio, this European release is well worth acquiring.