The Legendary Bill Evans this weekend. It never ceases to amaze, when you get of your own vault and start digging around to see what else is going on, that you find these treasures popping up everywhere on the Internet.
Case in point – Radio France Musique. One of the broadcast outlets in France run by people who love music, has this amazing website devoted to their daily programming. One of the programs which they run each week is Legends Of Jazz, featuring historic concerts recorded by Radio France over the years and reposted to their site. It is a treasure trove of important and historic performances by some of the true legends of Jazz, and an embarrassment of riches to music lovers of all genres.
A few weeks ago I ran across this concert featuring the Bill Evans Trio, recorded at the studios of Radio France on November 5, 1976. Vintage Evans recorded in pristine sound and preserved in all its brilliance by one of the most important figures in Modern Jazz from the late 1950s until his death in 1980 – his work serves as a blueprint for modern interpretation and impressionistic playing ever since. That we’re given evidence of this artistry in a live and unrestricted setting is a dramatic bonus and one that only affirms the importance of Evans in the grand scheme of things.
I know there are a few schools of thought regarding live performance versus studio recording – both are valid; one serves the artists intentions while the other offers insight in an unrestricted setting. One benefits by takes and edits; honing and shaping a performance, while the other is “flying by the seat of ones pants”, sometimes going off in directions not otherwise anticipated. The thing about Jazz, which is not necessarily true of Classical, is the freedom of improvisation, which can yield astonishing results. With Classical you have assigned notes – and your freedom exists on what you do within the framework of those notes and that tempo. Jazz offers jumping off places, and very often it’s the interaction, the energy exchange with the audience, that propels a performance.
All of that by way of saying, this performance of Bill Evans is noteworthy and essential listening. And I would also recommend visiting France Musique from time to time to make your own discoveries: https://www.francemusique.fr/. Well worth it.
In the meantime, sit back, relax and soak up some brilliance.