Bill Evans Biography (BBC)
One of the most sensitive and introspective pianists in jazz, Bill Evans had a huge influence on fellow players of his instrument, through his conjunction of the qualities of lyricism and analytical perfection. In 1950s New York, he worked in the jazz workshops of George Russell and Charlie Mingus, making his debut discs under his own name in 1956.
It was his arrival in Miles Davis' line-up in 1958 that put him on the map, and particularly the understated brilliance of his playing on the 1959 album Kind of Blue. Touring and the reverse racism known as 'Crow Jim' precipitated his departure from Davis, and he formed his own trio with bassist Scott La Faro and drummer Paul motian, that became celebrated as one of the best small groups in jazz, until La Faro's premature death in a car crash in July 1961.
Both fellow members of this trio improvised on an equal level with Evans, making the interplay between them a source of intense fascination. Much of the same spirit carried through into Evans's later trios, with bassists Chuck Israels, Eddie Gomez and Gary Peacock, and drummers Larry Bunker, Jack DeJohnette and Joe LaBarbera among others.
Evans managed to sustain a high profile recording career despite considerable problems with narcotics, and he left a legacy of material that shows the clarity of his thinking and his ability to put this into practice, often bringing elements of classical impressionism into jazz, but retaining an outstanding sense of jazz feeling.
Bill Evans Biography (Wikipedia)
William John "Bill" Evans (, August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly worked in a trio setting. Evans' use of impressionist harmony, inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire, block chords, and trademark rhythmically independent, "singing" melodic lines continue to influence jazz pianists today.
Born in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1929, he was classically trained, and studied at Southeastern Louisiana University and the Mannes School of Music, where he majored in composition and received the Artist Diploma. In 1955, he moved to New York City, where he worked with bandleader and theorist George Russell. In 1958, Evans joined Miles Davis's sextet, where he was to have a profound influence. In 1959, the band, then immersed in modal jazz, recorded Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time.
In late 1959, Evans left the Miles Davis band and began his career as a leader with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, a group now regarded as a seminal modern jazz trio. In 1961, ten days after recording the highly acclaimed Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby, LaFaro died in a car accident. After months of seclusion, Evans re-emerged with a new trio, featuring bassist Chuck Israels.
Bill Evans Tracks