Sunday, February 17, 2008

20th century Chopin

Bill Evans: a selection of film and show themes..

Starting with the incredible "Spartacus". Always looking for near-telepathic understanding among the members of his trio, Evans dispensed with bass and drums and overdubbed himself twice to produce an exquisite rendition of this ballad. From the 1963 album "conversations with myself". An extraordinary experiment in improvisational composition.

The following three tracks are from his last recordings at Keystone Corner in San Francisco, only days before his death. It defies belief to think that at the time of these recordings he was a very sick man, severely damaged by heroin and cocaine use, beset by personal tragedy. The liner notes include a quote by Keystone owner Todd Barkan: "Like what you see before a light bulb goes out-that extra-bright incandescence".

Theme from M*A*S*H, a storming performance.

My Romance, the show-tune by Rodgers and Hart. The 3 minute intro alone probably outside the capabilities of any other pianist.

Days of wine and roses. Mancini's ballad given an uptempo treatment, the trio with Marc Johnson's bass and Joe la Barbera on drums is particularly brilliant here.

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