Bill Evans, piano & Jim Hall, guitar – Undercurrent [TrackList follows] – United Artists (1962)/ Pure Pleasure Records Ltd. audiophile 180gr vinyl PPAN UAJS 15003 [9/24/12] *****:
What a perfectly delightful duo for listeners, like myself, who are not nuts about the drums in jazz trios and prefer just piano and bass, piano and sax, or in this case piano and guitar. In fact the fantastic jazz pianist Evans was at this time recovering from the loss of his duo partner on doublebass, Scott Le Faro, who had tragically died at only age 23. Jim Hall was a perfect replacement, and quickly developed a similar telepathic connection with Evans that resulted in two great duo LPs, of which this is one.
And this is not just guitar riffs ornamenting the piano, nor piano accompaniment for guitar improvisations. Each player is thoroughly equal in this endeavor, and their ideas and exchanges are something to hear. Having the clean and quiet vinyl background and the rich sound of each instrument aids a lot in appreciating the six shared creations of these two master jazzmen. My favorite track was John Lewis’ waltz-time “Skating in Central Park.” The gatefold double sleeve has nothing but the photo of the floating body on the front, and inside it has totally random nonsense liner notes titled “Wait Quickly.” I guess this was the sort of Dadaist thing that went over well in the ‘60s. The music isn’t nonsense.
My Funny Valentine, I Hear a Rhapsody, Dream Gypsy, Romain, Skating in Central Park, Darn That Dream.
A Texas singer-songwriter’s legend lives on with this journey of personal discovery and anecdotal cleverness.