Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bill Evans & Heroin

Bill Evans was my first jazz hero, largely because an English teacher at Arkansas State University introduced me to Evan's music while also introducing me to fine wine. Since then I have collected a lot of Evan's music, and there is a lot. Most of the recordings he made as leader were in the trio format. Evans made his mark as an introspective dowager, seeking the vein of true song inside any melody, and squeezing every last drop of it out. But Evans did a lot of recording. He was side man on some very important albums: Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, and Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else.

One Evans recording that deserves more credit that it gets is Loose Blues. It's easy to disregard it. I picked it up in grad school, and only learned when I unwrapped the album that the recording session was a mess. Evans put the session together because he need money for smack. Apparently everyone was grumpy. Everyone included Zoot Sims on tenor, Jim Hall on Guitar, Ron Carter on Bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums. That's some pretty expensive grump.

Whatever demons were chewing away at Bill Even's soul, he could still play. And he could compose. All the compositions on the recording are his. This disc makes me wish he had done more quartets and quintets. A good sample is the first number, billevans-01-loosebloose.

Check it out, and then buy the album. You won' say I steered you wrong.

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