Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2010 release that presents a true rarity: Bill Evans playing piano with four hands alongside his Brazilian pianist friend Luiz Eça in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Most of the tracks are duets, with the additional accompaniment of Evans' regular bassist Marc Johnson on some tunes. It is fortunate that this informal evening of music was recorded. Jazz Lips.
The search for unknown recordings by Bill Evans has been persistent since his untimely death at the age of 51 in 1980. This privately recorded session features Evans sharing a piano with his old friend pianist Luíz Eça (best known for his composition "The Dolphin") in a Rio de Janeiro nightclub during his final tour of South America. They play a number of duets together, with Eça playing bass and Evans treble (though they do switch places), and the focus is mostly on standards, with Marc Johnson joining them on bass for five songs. Evidently taken from two separate sets that evening since several songs are repeated, Evans revisits old favorites like "Who Can I Turn To" and his jagged set-closing theme "Five," along with introducing several of his then-recent compositions ("Letter to Evan," "Laurie," and "Bill's Hit Tune"). The informal nature of the meeting results in less polish than a planned record date, though there are many memorable moments, while Evans' audible comments to his friend add a special dimension, as if one is sitting next to the piano. Evans sits out several numbers, including a fine interpretation of "Wave" by singer Leny Andrade (with pianist Cidinho and Marc Johnson) plus a solo by Cidinho and a duet featuring him with Eça. One oddity is the brief attempt at "One Note Samba" that is abandoned after a few seconds, then after a conversation between the two pianists, they opt for "Stella by Starlight." The failure to research the identity of the "Untitled Original" by Evans (which turns up twice, the latter time in a solo version following the second duet of "Letter to Evan") and the less than perfect sound quality make it seem like this CD is a bootleg. In any case, the emergence of yet another previously unknown recording by Bill Evans, especially a rare meeting with a second pianist in an informal live setting, will be of great interest to his fans. ~ Ken Dryden