Bill Evans Trio – Trio ’65 [TrackList follows] – Verve (1965)/ Original Recordings Group ORG 142 45 rpm double vinyl *****:
(Bill Evans, piano; Chuck Israels, bass; Larry Bunker, drums)
Although these eight selections were all recorded by Bill Evans on other albums during his career, this particular session remains one of his classic albums, and is a favorite of many collectors. Some of the tracks are considered by critics to be superior to other versions on disc, such as the opening “Israel,” which had been recorded four years earlier. If only all jazz piano trios sounded anything like this; unfortunately, they don’t.
Clarinetist Jimmy Guiffre shook up NYC’s Village Vanguard once, as reported in the original liner notes, saying that Bill Evans was a greater musician than Charlie Parker. He also made a statement similar to that of Ellington’s about musical categories really not existing—there’s just great music and that which isn’t.
At this time Evans was busy with recording soundtracks, duets with guitarist Jim Hall, and his famous pair of multitracked solo piano albums (which are my personal favorite of all of his recordings). So he wasn’t much in the studio with his trio, and here turns out a very relaxed and creative bunch of tracks. Israels had replaced the late and much-missed Scott LaFaro, and was not as aggressive as that bassist, focusing more on laying down a secure timing and interesting melodic effects. He’s no Scott LaFaro, but still great. Some of the tracks show a rhythmically strong approach from Evans (less likely to be thought typical cocktail-piano jazz by those not closely listening). His own composition, “Elsa,” produces an unusual linear solo of great beauty.
Nobody except those in the studio originally (and in the remastering studio) has heard this album in such terrific fidelity as the limited edition, individually-numbered 45 rpm remastering has achieved—even, I would guess, with hi-res downloads (if there are any). The three are right there in your listening room. No hint of any surface noise with the ORGs either. It’s definitely worth it to get up more frequently to flip over the sides with the 45 rpm cutting.
“Israel” (John Carisi) – 4:49
“Elsa” (Earl Zindars) – 4:22
“‘Round Midnight” (Thelonious Monk, Cootie Williams) – 6:42
“Our Love Is Here to Stay” (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 4:02
“How My Heart Sings” (Zindars) – 2:49
“Who Can I Turn To?” (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) – 4:53
“Come Rain or Come Shine” (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) – 5:26
“If You Could See Me Now” (Tadd Dameron, Carl Sigman) – 4:47