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BILL EVANS:  Sunday At The Village Vanguard (2CD SET)

BILL EVANS: Sunday At The Village Vanguard (2CD SET)

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Sunday at the Village Vanguard is the initial volume of a mammoth recording session by the Bill Evans Trio, from June 25, 1961 at New York's Village Vanguard documenting Evans' first trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian...Here, one need listen no further than the elegant and haunting, graceful modal reading of "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy & Bess to know that there is something completely balanced and indescribably beautiful in their approach. Motian's brushes whisper along the ride cymbals and both Evans and LaFaro enter into a dialogue that emerges from a darkly hued minor mode, into the melody and somehow beyond it, into a form of seamless dialogic improvisation to know that in the act of one musician slipping over and under another -- as happens with all three in an aural basket weave -- is something utterly new and different, often imitated but never replicated. But in a sense it happens before this, on LaFaro's "Gloria's Step," which opens the recording. His thematic statement includes the briefest intro, hesitant and spacious before he and pianist enter into a harmonic and contrapuntal conversation underscored by the hushed dynamics of Motian's snare, and the lightning-fast interlocutions of single string and chorded playing of LaFaro. The shapshifting reading of Miles Davis' "Solar," is a place where angularity, counterpoint, and early modalism all come together in a knotty and insistent, yet utterly seamless blend of post-bop aesthetics and expanded harmonic intercourse with Motian, whose work, while indispensable in the balance of the trio, comes more into play here, and is more assertive with his half-time accents to frame the counterpoint playing of Evans and LaFaro. This is a great place to begin with Evans.

CD 1: Sunday At The Village Vanguard

1. Gloria's Step (Take 2) (6:09)
2. My Man's Gone Now (6:27)
3. Solar (8:56)
4. Alice In Wonderland (Take 2) (8:34)
5. All Of You (Take 2) (8:21)
6. Jade Visions (Take 2) (3:44)

Total Playing Time Approx 42 mins


CD 2: Explorations

1. Israel (6:14)
2. Haunted Heart (3:28)
3. Beautiful Love (Take 2) (5:07)
4. Elsa (5:12)
5. Nardis (5:53)
6. How Deep Is The Ocean? (3:35)
7. I Wish I Knew (4:43)
8. Sweet And Lovely (5:53)

Total Playing Time Approx 39 mins