Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bill Evans: Two Unique Live Concerts

Bill Evans:  An enormously influential figure (Quote: Brian Priestley)
Live at the Art d' Lugoff's Top of the Gate (NYC) (1968)  Live at the Stadsschouwburg - Groningen (The Netherlands) ( 1972) 
Hans Koert

Recently two live concerts by pianist Bill Evans have been released on two 2cd albums: Bill Evans  Live at Art D’ Lugoff’s Top of the Gate ( New York City)( 23rd of October, 1968) and Bill Evans – Momentum ( Stadsschouwburg - Groningen (The Netherlands) ( 4th of February, 1972. ).

Bill Evans: Two unique live concerts (English) | Bill Evans: Twee unieke liveconcerten (Nederlands)

 Two live concerts, registrations from 1968 and 1972, by the Bill Evans Trio: featuring Bill Evans at the piano, Eddie Gomez on bass and Marty Morell on drums, learn that Bill Evans is still widely popular among jazz fans.
Bill Evans ( 1929-1980)

Bill Evans, born in Plainfield (NJ) August 1929 passed away almost 32 years ago ( September 1980). An enormously influential figure …… Brian Priestley labels him in the Rough Guide to Jazz  - his music was always extreme creative, floating without the limitations of the 4/4 meter .. freed from the lockstep 4/4, that had come to exercise in tyranny over jazz …. . His characteristic posture sitting behind the keyboard, lean over to his hands at the keyboard …. Bill Evans, Nat Hentoff put it, would sometimes get so involved in the piano that he would lean over and lean over and you’d think he was about to be swallowed by the piano.  He played with his head bent to the inventions.

Bill Evans - Live at Art D' Lugoff's Top of the Gate ( Resonance Records HCD-2012)

Bill Evans recordings are still extreme popular – even 32 years after he passed away, a lot of jazz fans listen to his music. Numerous live recordings have been released since he passed away – most boot legs, often taped on a home recorder from the back of a club, recorded  in an inferior quality …….. , but these two concerts were both taped professional ………….. in an excellent sound quality.

The Top of the Gate (New York City) (photo courtesy: D' Lugoff family )(original colour picture)

The concert at the Top of the Gate was recorded by George Klabin, then a 22 year old student at Columbia University, with the permission of Bill’s manager Helen Keane.  The taped concert was broadcasted just once for a Columbia University WKCR-FM radio show.
The Top of the Gate was part of the Village Gate club in New York CityIt was a large room where audiences dined and drank, Eddie Gomez, the bass player in the trio remembers: It attracted a much different sort of listeners (then the Village Gate). You could find musicians stopping by, film- and TV celebrities and also tourists, who wanted to sample the Greenwich Village scene. When Bill played at the Top of the Gate, in the Village Gate both Thelonious Monk and the Charles Lloyd Quartet were performing on a double-bill. Isn’t it great to realize all those icons play under the same roof?  But it is like Marty Morell, the drummer, recalls …. Sadly, those days will never be back …

 Bill Evans - Momentum ( Limetree MCD 043)

The Groningen concert was taped by Jan Warntjens, a Dutch pianist and Evans aficionado, Rob Rijneke says in the liner notes, and also Jan was allowed to tape the concert professionally.
It was transferred from tape to cd and preserved … now after nearly forty years, it was released on the Bill Evans 2cd Momentum, a title suggested by Nenette Evans, Bill’s widow: At the time of this recording in 1972, Bill was experiencing a momentous upswing in his personal life, his health, and his career, she remembered: so I would like to give the album the appropriate title of Momentum.  Bill had performed twenty-one times (!) in The Netherlands, the liner notes learn. The first time in 1964  and the last time a year before he passed away.  For a lot of Dutchmen the Tros Radio Sesjun programs will be remembered, featuring Bill Evans, like in 1973 and 1975 at the Boerenhofstede in Laren (The Netherlands) and De Meerkoet in Lelystad (The Netherlands). Parts of these concerts have been released last year in a 2cd album Bill Evans The Sesjun Radio Shows.

 The Groningen Stadsschouwburg

Two concerts – two sets – a remarkable piano player with two great accompanists:  Eddie Gomez, double bass player, part of the trio for 11 years since 1966 and  Marty Morell, the up-and-coming drummer, who had just started in the trio at the Top of the Gate concert – Both albums contain almost 30 tracks ( only two are doubling: Bill’s composition Turn Out The Stars and the standard Emily). Two sets - two essentials -  for each serious jazz fan, who has missed the opportunities to hear Bill Evans play live or just love to recall this sensation .....

Bill Evans: Top of the Gate (Resonance) | Bill Evans - Momentum (Limetree)

Hans Koert

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Most of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker and Bill Evans early recordings have been reissued in cheap budget boxes, a grab bag for collectors, but stabbed the serious record companies to the heart ...... Limetree and Resonance recently released two excellent live albums by the Bill Evans Trio, recorded in the Top of the Gate in New York City (1968) and the Stadsschouwburg in Groningen ( The Netherlands) - both in an excellent sound quality.Two essentials!

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1 comment:

  1. I also noticed him crack a few honest smiles while pretending to swerve a car around stage and rapping his violent, drug-heavy lyrics earlier in the performance. see this on