Bill Evans, Waltz For Debby Review

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jfderry's review of Bill Evans, Waltz For Debby


“Bill Evans' dedication to his art was more like a...”

Written on: 11/09/2006 by jfderry (208 reviews written)

Bill Evans' dedication to his art was more like a martyrdom. He was on a journey of discovery through a land of alien modes. He was an artist's artist,

"I think some young people want a deeper experience. Some people just want to be hit over the head, and you know, if then they [get] hit hard enough maybe they'll feel something. You know? But some people want to get inside of something and discover, maybe, more richness. And I think it will always be the same; they're not going to be the great percentage of the people. A great percentage of the people don't want a challenge. They want something to be done to them -- they don't want to participate. But there'll always be maybe 15% maybe, 15%, that desire something more, and they'll search it out -- and maybe that's where art is, I think.".

Waltz for Debby possibly catches the young Evans at his very best, and there's very little more that can be said about this classic album; one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.

Two aspects about the piano trio with Scott Le Faro and Paul Motion, and particularly this recording have ensured their places in the hall of fame, "composition and performance".

Evans' writing is cherished amongst many greats as being inspirational for their own work. I'm never really sure whether it's the languid melody lines, exquisite harmonies he places in his arrangements or simply the sympathetic use of space to integrate the players so well that makes the likes of Miles Davis, George Russell, Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin rever him so. His technique, although emotional, was also quite technical. He reinvented how chords were constructed in accompanied settings, leaving much of the bass for the rhythm section to rightly deal with, and conjuring space through suggestive omission of key notes. He was a genius at associating disparate parts to make a beautiful cohesive whole.

It's also his tone of course, and this is where composition and performance mesh. The incandescence of his notes tumble as if crystal shards breaking at the foot of the waterfall. The layers of sound slide through the glistening patches of light.

It all fits together perfectly. It purrs like a high performance engine, the moving parts optimally lubricated to generate the least friction, but just enough heat.

Of this new mastering, one of the dangers of CD-clarity vying with acoustic instruments raises it's ugly head, namely Le Faro's bass squeaks come to the fore and can be distracting, but what a minor gripe with so much else on offer, plus 3 alternate takes and a track previously unreleased with the others from the same session.

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