Influences #2: Bill Evans
All this month we’re featuring songs that mean something to Yoko. Her second selection this month is from Bill Evans’ 1961 live recording Sunday At The Village Vanguard.
Yoko says: “I remember putting on Bill Evans Sunday Live at the Village Vanguard for the first time. The first song was ‘My Foolish Heart’ and I liked it as soon as I heard the first couple notes. If you’ve been following my blog then you already know that Bill Evans is one of my primary influences on the piano. I think I feel a connection to him since he also played classical piano before switching his focus to jazz. His version of ‘My Foolish Heart’ on this recording is so achingly beautiful, I learned so many beautiful chord voicings from listening to it which are such a part of his distinctive sound. The way he just eases into the melody … eventually the rhythm section of Scott Lafaro and Paul Motian evolve from a supportive role to interacting together and the dynamic level and passion builds throughout the melody. Bill Evans then proceeds to play a historic example of just what a jazz solo should be. Although the song is a ballad he plays with such intensity and plays interesting rhythms with quite a density of notes. Bill Evans does this and plays the melody out with a beautiful ending. He says everything he needed to in less than five minutes, less really is more. It such depth and beauty and an underlying sadness, I never grow tired of listening to this version and each time I do I hear something new and fresh that I never noticed before.”
A few notes about this recording:
The album was recorded on June 25, 1961. The album draws from five different sets. This is the final recording by this trio. Ten days later, Scott LaFaro was killed in a car accident near Canandaigua, NY. Evans and producer Orrin Keepnews chose songs for the album that best displayed LaFaro’s playing. the album starts and ends with pieces written by LaFaro.