Bill Evans – Some Other Time – Resonance (2 CD set)

Bill Evans – Some Other Time – Resonance HCD-2019, 93:06 (2-CD set) [now 1/17] ***** (the release date has been delayed):

A rare 1968 Bill Evans recording is another brilliant achievement.

(Bill Evans – piano; Eddie Gomez – double bass; Jack DeJohnette – drums)

Resonance Records has uncovered a terrific unreleased recording of legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. Some Other TimeThe Lost Sessions From The Black Forest was recorded on June 20, 1968, five days after Bill Evans appeared at Montreux. There are primarily duo and trio performances that examine yet another exceptionally creative period.

The opening track, “You Go To My Head” (previously recorded by the pianist in 1962) quickly adopts the “percussive poet” as the trio swings. Evan’s playing is assured and up-tempo, choosing to emphasize the rhythmic dynamics and brisk solo runs. Gomez’ extended bass solo is extraordinary. DeJohnette’s nimble, cohesive drumming brings the trio together.  This recording leans heavily on American Songbook material. “My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers/Hart) has become a jazz staple over the years. Evans combination of lyrical finesse and finger-snapping cool is revelatory. There is a late crescendo that is wonderful.

From Kismet, “Baubles Bangles And Beads” has a medium-swing waltz groove that is emphatically articulated by Evans with notation and prominent chords. A nice cover is the title cut from the Leonard Bernstein/Betty Comden/Adolph Green musical On The Town. A full trio number, it features classic Evans introspective arrangement suppleness. DeJohnette’s brush work, combined with Gomez’s textured doublebass frames the shimmering piano.  Other Broadway tunes (from Disc One) include “What Kind Of Fool Am I?”. Evans contributes two originals, the melodic, “Very Early” (with a haunting intro and swing transition) and “Turn Out The Stars” (which alternates tempo and volume modulation).

Evans’ acuity for melodic interpretation is always present, especially on Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood”. But in conjunction with the dynamics of this project, sprightly runs and impressive ensemble structure permeate the music. Disc Two begins with a more current song, “You’re Gonna Hear From Me”. Again, transformational jazz piano spruces up this Andre & Dory Previn number (there is also an alternative take). The lone original (“Walkin’ Up”) is decidedly harder-edged with syncopated riffs, another expanded doublebass solo and prominent drum fills. The trio energizes second takes of “Bauble Bangles And Beads” and “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” (including an unexpected playfully corny finish). The shift from ethereal rumination is very effective and elevates “On Green Dolphin Street”. Evans’ stylistic range is inimitable. “Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?) employs bluesy, atmospheric sentiment and is complex. On the Cole Porter classic, “It’s All Right With Me” (a solo take), the deeper exploration of the wistful resonance morphs into ebullient piano runs.

There is a bonafide excitement for a 48-year old Bill Evans recording finally getting released. This album was recorded for German label MPS, and was never going to be released (since Evans was with Verve at the time). More importantly, the acoustics are excellent. Oscar Peterson (and to a lesser degree Duke Ellington and Teddy Wilson) raved about the studio quality at MPS. You can hear the vibrant attention to detail on DeJohnette’s cymbals and Eddie Gomez’s full-bodied double bass. Evans’ Steinway is crystalline. When the chords swell, the tonal expansion is palpable. The quieter moments are delicate, with richness. The overall mix is excellent, with a digital transfer of the original analog tapes at a sampling rate of 24 bits/192 kHz per second (but down-sampled to CD quality). The informative booklet is revelatory. Producer Zev Feldman gives an anecdotal recounting of the journey to get this album to the jazz world. There are interviews with both Gomez and DeJohnette. Writer Marc Myers provides incisive liner notes on Evans’ career and the session.

Bill EvansSome Other Time is a valuable addition to any jazz collection!

TrackList:

Disc One: You Go To My Head; Very Early; What Kind Of Fool Am I?; I’ll Remember April; My Funny Valentine; Baubles, Bangles And Beads; Turn Out The Stars; It Could Happen To You; In A Sentimental Mood; These Foolish Things; Some Other Time

Disc Two: You’re Gonna Hear From Me; Walkin’ Up; Baubles, Bangles And Beads; It’s All Right With Me; What Kind Of Fool Am I?; How About You?; On Green Dolphin Street; Wonder Why; Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?); You’re Gonna Hear From Me (alternate take)

—Robbie Gerson

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