Bill Evans

The Secret Sessions

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During an 18-year period, fan Mike Harris went to the Village Vanguard whenever pianist Bill Evans appeared and privately taped his performances. More than a decade after Evans' death, Harris made all the proper legal arrangements and producer Orrin Keepnews released music from 26 different occasions on this eight-CD box set, 104 selections in all. With the exception of the first date (and to a lesser extent the last one), the recording quality is surprisingly good, making this a real bonanza for Bill Evans' other fans. The pianist is joined by bassist Eddie Gomez on all of the numbers (except for the first eight, which have Teddy Kotick), along with drummers Arnie Wise, Joe Hunt, Philly Joe Jones, Jack DeJohnette (clearly the most modern of the drummers), John Dentz, Marty Morell and Eliot Zigmund. Since Evans' style did not evolve much during the period, Eddie Gomez's growth as a soloist and the way that the various drummers adapt their styles to Evans' are probably the two main reasons to acquire the set. But Bill Evans fanatics do not have to be told twice about this attractive package's existence.

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