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Bill Evans (Piano): Momentum [Limited Edition]

Album Notes

During the last decade of his life, Bill Evans had developed such a devoted fan base that many of his performances were audience-recorded, particularly when he toured Europe. This previously unissued concert was recorded in Groningen, The Netherlands with the approval of the pianist's manager Helen Keane, but remained in private hands until its release four decades later. The music was well recorded and the tapes were properly stored, so there is no problem from aging. Evans' trio with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell is in top form throughout this concert, while the repertoire will be familiar to the leader's fans. The pianist is in a reflective mood, especially on his introspective "Re: Person I Knew." Evans' former bassist Scott LaFaro had died tragically just days after the trio's historic Village Vanguard recordings, but LaFaro's driving "Gloria's Step" remained in Evans' repertoire for the rest of his life; Gomez's adept playing is a highlight of this hard-charging performance. Composer/pianist Denny Zeitlin believes that Evans' performance of his requiem-like ballad "Quiet Now" is among the finest interpretations of Zeitlin's well-known work.

The second set finds the trio stretching out a bit more, with a brisk take of "My Romance" and a sparkling rendition of Evans' delicate ballad "Sugar Plum." The pianist's emotional side is prominent in his ballad "The Two Lonely People" and the moving take of Michel Legrand's timeless ballad "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," while he turns "Who Can I Turn To" into a playful, upbeat celebration, showcasing Gomez's brilliant solo. Sadly, the engineer ran out of tape before the trio could complete their inevitable closing number, a tense setting of Miles Davis' modal masterpiece "Nardis," which became a signature song for the pianist not long after he recorded it as a sideman with Cannonball Adderley. The detailed liner notes by several contributors provide additional historical and critical perspective. ~ Ken Dryden


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