Bill Evans Trio (Marc Johnson, bass – Joe LaBarbera, drums) – Casale Monferrato, Italy – November 30, 1979
The legendary Bill Evans Trio this weekend. With Marc Johnson, Bass and Joe LaBarbera, drums – recorded in concert at Casale Monferrato, Italy on November 30, 1979. Big hat-tip to my friend and colleague Jean-Pierre Poirette for turning me on to this one and offering his stunning recording.
A few notes via the unofficial Bill Evans Fan page regarding this period of activity:
By Jan Stevens:
“His last trio was formed in 1978, featuring the incomparably sensitive Marc Johnson on bass and drummer Joe LaBarbera, which rejuvenated the often-ailing pianist, who was elated with his new line-up, calling it “the most closely related” to his first trio (with LaFaro and Motian). He suffered yet more family problems and upheavals in his personal life, (often due to bouts with narcotics addiction) and yet brought a new dynamic musical vitality, a surer confidence, fresh energy and even more aggressive interplay to the trio’s repertoire. Evans’ health was deteriorating, however, though he insisted on working until he finally had to cancel midweek during an engagement at Fat Tuesday’s in New York. A few days later, he had to be taken to Mount Sinai Hospital on September 15, 1980, where he died from a bleeding ulcer, cirrhosis of the liver and bronchial pneumonia . He is buried next to his beloved brother Harry, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
While Evans was open to new musical approaches that would not compromise his musical and artistic vision — such as his occasional use of electric piano, and his brief associations with avant-garde composer George Russell — he always insisted on the purity of the song structure and the noble history of the jazz tradition. It was a point the highly articulate Evans was quite forthcoming about in the various interviews he gave throughout his career. Consistently true to his own pianistic standards, he continued to enhance his own singular vision of music until the very end.
In his short life, Bill Evans was a prolific and profoundly creative artist and a genuinely compassionate and gentle man, often in the face of his recurring health problems and his restless nature. His rich legacy remains undiminished, and his compositions have enjoyed rediscovery by jazz players and even some classical musicians. Even twenty-five years after his passing, Bill Evans’ music continues to influence musicians and composers everywhere and all those who have been deeply touched by his expressive genius and sensitive, lyrical artistry.”
A little Sunday peace, amid the madness – turn it up and tune the rest out.