Joining Bill Evans (piano) on Trio '64 -- his initial three-piece recording for Verve -- is the compact rhythm section of Gary Peacock (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). The effort spotlights their communal and intuitive musical discourse, hinging on an uncanny ability of the musicians to simultaneously hear and respond. All the more interesting, Evans had not interacted in this setting before, having most recently worked with Chuck Israels (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums). The personable opener, "Little Lulu," features the aggregate melodically molding individual and distinct sonic characteristics. Evans' nimble and emphatic syncopation is not only ably supported, but framed by Peacock's expressive runs and Motian's acute sense of timing. "A Sleeping Bee" is one of the collection's most endearing selections as the groove playfully scintillates surrounding some hauntingly poignant chord changes. Evans bandies back and forth with Peacock, the latter likewise providing a stellar solo. "Always" captures a similar effervescence as the instrumentalists ebb and flow in synchronicity. Since the December 18 session was held the week before Christmas 1963, they fittingly tote out "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," creating a minor masterpiece of post-bop from what could easily have started as a spontaneous seasonal suggestion. Noël Coward's "I'll See You Again" bears a brisk waltz persona, enabling the unit to fluently weave its offerings without obstructing the otherwise affective tune. Concluding Trio '64 is Rodgers & Hart's standard "Everything Happens to Me," with an unhurried tempo lingering just long enough to embrace the familiar refrain. Evans sparkles, gliding around Peacock's full-bodied basslines and Motian's solid yet restrained beat.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer