Bill Evans

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For other uses, see Bill Evans (disambiguation). Bill Evans_sentence_0

Bill Evans_table_infobox_0

Bill EvansBill Evans_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationBill Evans_header_cell_0_1_0
Birth nameBill Evans_header_cell_0_2_0 William John EvansBill Evans_cell_0_2_1
BornBill Evans_header_cell_0_3_0 (1929-08-16)August 16, 1929

Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.Bill Evans_cell_0_3_1

DiedBill Evans_header_cell_0_4_0 September 15, 1980(1980-09-15) (aged 51)

New York City, New YorkBill Evans_cell_0_4_1

GenresBill Evans_header_cell_0_5_0 Jazz, modal jazz, third stream, cool jazz, post-bopBill Evans_cell_0_5_1
Occupation(s)Bill Evans_header_cell_0_6_0 Musician

Composer ArrangerBill Evans_cell_0_6_1

InstrumentsBill Evans_header_cell_0_7_0 PianoBill Evans_cell_0_7_1
Years activeBill Evans_header_cell_0_8_0 1950s–1980Bill Evans_cell_0_8_1
LabelsBill Evans_header_cell_0_9_0 Riverside, Verve, FantasyBill Evans_cell_0_9_1
Associated actsBill Evans_header_cell_0_10_0 George Russell, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Philly Joe Jones, Scott LaFaro, Paul Motian, Eddie Gómez, Marty Morell, Tony Bennett, Jim Hall, Stan Getz, Monica Zetterlund, Chet BakerBill Evans_cell_0_10_1

William John Evans (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly played in trios. Bill Evans_sentence_1

His use of impressionist harmony, inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire, block chords, and trademark rhythmically independent, "singing" melodic lines continues to influence jazz pianists today. Bill Evans_sentence_2

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1929, he was classically trained at Southeastern Louisiana University and the Mannes School of Music, where he majored in composition and received the Artist Diploma. Bill Evans_sentence_3

In 1955, he moved to New York City, where he worked with bandleader and theorist George Russell. Bill Evans_sentence_4

In 1958, Evans joined Miles Davis's sextet, which in 1959, then immersed in modal jazz, recorded Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. Bill Evans_sentence_5

During that time, Evans was also playing with Chet Baker for the album Chet. Bill Evans_sentence_6

In late 1959, Evans left the Miles Davis band and began his career as a leader, with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, a group now regarded as a seminal modern jazz trio. Bill Evans_sentence_7

In 1961, ten days after finishing an engagement at the New York Village Vanguard jazz club, LaFaro died in a car accident. Bill Evans_sentence_8

After months of seclusion, Evans reemerged with a new trio, featuring bassist Chuck Israels. Bill Evans_sentence_9

In 1963, Evans recorded Conversations with Myself, a solo album using the unconventional technique of overdubbing himself. Bill Evans_sentence_10

In 1966, he met bassist Eddie Gómez, with whom he worked for 11 years. Bill Evans_sentence_11

Many of Evans's compositions, such as "Waltz for Debby", have become standards, played and recorded by many artists. Bill Evans_sentence_12

Evans received 31 Grammy nominations and seven awards, and was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. Bill Evans_sentence_13

Biography Bill Evans_section_0

Early life Bill Evans_section_1

Evans grew up in North Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of Harry and Mary Evans (née Soroka). Bill Evans_sentence_14

His father was of Welsh descent and ran a golf course; his mother was of Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry and descended from a family of coal miners. Bill Evans_sentence_15

The marriage was stormy because of the father's heavy drinking, gambling, and abuse. Bill Evans_sentence_16

He had a brother, Harry (Harold), two years his senior, to whom he was very close. Bill Evans_sentence_17

Given Harry Evans Sr.'s destructive character, Mary Evans often left home with her sons to go to nearby Somerville, to stay with her sister Justine and the Epps family. Bill Evans_sentence_18

There, Harry began piano lessons somewhere between age 5 and 7 with local teacher Helen Leland. Bill Evans_sentence_19

Bill was thought to be too young for lessons, but he began to play what he had heard during his brother's, and soon both were taking piano lessons. Bill Evans_sentence_20

Evans remembered Leland with affection for not insisting on a heavy technical approach, with scales and arpeggios. Bill Evans_sentence_21

He quickly developed a fluent sight-reading ability, but Leland considered Harry a better pianist. Bill Evans_sentence_22

At the age of seven, Bill began violin lessons, and soon also flute and piccolo. Bill Evans_sentence_23

He soon dropped those instruments, but it is believed they later influenced his keyboard style. Bill Evans_sentence_24

He later named Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert as composers whose work he often played. Bill Evans_sentence_25

During high school, Evans came in contact with 20th-century music like Stravinsky's Petrushka, which he called a "tremendous experience", and Milhaud's Suite provençale, whose bitonal language he believed "opened him to new things." Bill Evans_sentence_26

Around the same time came his first exposure to jazz, when aged 12 he heard Tommy Dorsey and Harry James's bands on the radio. Bill Evans_sentence_27

At the age of 13, Bill stood in for a sick pianist in Buddy Valentino's rehearsal band, where Harry was already playing the trumpet. Bill Evans_sentence_28

Soon he began to perform for dances and weddings throughout New Jersey, playing music like boogie woogie and polkas for $1 per hour. Bill Evans_sentence_29

Around this time he met multi-instrumentalist Don Elliott, with whom he later recorded. Bill Evans_sentence_30

Another important influence was bassist George Platt, who introduced Evans to the theory of harmony. Bill Evans_sentence_31

Evans also listened to Earl Hines, Coleman Hawkins, Bud Powell, George Shearing, Stan Getz, and Nat King Cole among others. Bill Evans_sentence_32

He particularly admired Cole. Bill Evans_sentence_33

Evans attended North Plainfield High School, graduating in 1946. Bill Evans_sentence_34

College, army, sabbatical year Bill Evans_section_2

After high school, in September 1946, Evans attended Southeastern Louisiana University on a flute scholarship. Bill Evans_sentence_35

He studied classical piano interpretation with Louis P. Kohnop, John Venettozzi, and Ronald Stetzel. Bill Evans_sentence_36

A key figure in Evans's development was Gretchen Magee, whose methods of teaching left a big imprint on his compositional style. Bill Evans_sentence_37

Around his third year in college, Evans composed his first known tune, "Very Early". Bill Evans_sentence_38

Around that time he also composed a piece called "Peace Piece". Bill Evans_sentence_39

Years later, when asked to play it, he said it was a spontaneous improvisation and didn't know it. Bill Evans_sentence_40

He was a founding member of SLU's Delta Omega chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, played quarterback for the fraternity's football team, and played in the college band. Bill Evans_sentence_41

In 1950, he performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. Bill Evans_sentence_42 3 on his senior recital, graduating with a Bachelor of Music in piano and a bachelor's in music education. Bill Evans_sentence_43

Evans regarded his last three years in college as the happiest of his life. Bill Evans_sentence_44

During college, Evans met guitarist Mundell Lowe, and after graduating, they formed a trio with bassist Red Mitchell. Bill Evans_sentence_45

The three relocated to New York City, but their inability to attract bookings prompted them to leave for Calumet City, Illinois. Bill Evans_sentence_46

In July 1950, Evans joined Herbie Fields's band, based in Chicago. Bill Evans_sentence_47

During the summer, the band did a three-month tour backing Billie Holiday, including East Coast appearances at Harlem's Apollo Theater and shows in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Bill Evans_sentence_48

The band included trumpeter Jimmy Nottingham, trombonist Frank Rosolino and bassist Jim Aton. Bill Evans_sentence_49

Upon its return to Chicago, Evans and Aton worked as a duo in clubs, often backing singer Lurlean Hunter. Bill Evans_sentence_50

Shortly thereafter, Evans received his draft notice and entered the U.S. Bill Evans_sentence_51 Army. Bill Evans_sentence_52

During his three-year (1951–54) stay in the Army, Evans played flute, piccolo, and piano in the Fifth U.S. Army Band at Fort Sheridan. Bill Evans_sentence_53

He hosted a jazz program on the camp radio station and occasionally performed in Chicago clubs, where he met singer Lucy Reed, with whom he became friends and later recorded. Bill Evans_sentence_54

He met singer and bassist Bill Scott and Chicago jazz pianist Sam Distefano (his bunkmate in their platoon), both of whom became Evans's close friends. Bill Evans_sentence_55

But Evans's stay in the Army was traumatic, and he had nightmares for years. Bill Evans_sentence_56

As people criticized his musical conceptions and playing, he lost confidence for the first time. Bill Evans_sentence_57

Around 1953 Evans composed his best-known tune, "Waltz for Debby", for his young niece. Bill Evans_sentence_58

During this period he began using recreational drugs, occasionally smoking marijuana. Bill Evans_sentence_59

Evans was discharged from the Army in January 1954, and entered a period of seclusion triggered by the harsh criticism he had received. Bill Evans_sentence_60

He took a sabbatical year and lived with his parents, where he set up a studio, acquired a grand piano and worked on his technique, believing he lacked the natural fluency of other musicians. Bill Evans_sentence_61

He visited his brother, now in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recently married and working as a conservatory teacher. Bill Evans_sentence_62

Return to New York City and first jobs Bill Evans_section_3

In July 1955, Evans returned to New York City and enrolled in the Mannes College of Music for a three-semester postgraduate course in music composition. Bill Evans_sentence_63

He also wrote classical settings of poems by William Blake. Bill Evans_sentence_64

Along with his studies, Evans played in mostly low-profile "Tuxedo gigs" at the Friendship Club and the Roseland Ballroom, as well as Jewish weddings, intermission spots, and over-40 dances. Bill Evans_sentence_65

Better opportunities also arose, such as playing solo opposite the Modern Jazz Quartet at the Village Vanguard, where one day he saw Miles Davis listening to him. Bill Evans_sentence_66

During this period, Evans also met Thelonious Monk. Bill Evans_sentence_67

Evans soon began to perform in Greenwich Village clubs with Don Elliott, Tony Scott, Mundell Lowe, and bandleader Jerry Wald. Bill Evans_sentence_68

He may have played on some of Wald's discs, but his first proven Wald recording is Listen to the Music of Jerry Wald, which also featured his future drummer Paul Motian. Bill Evans_sentence_69

In early 1955, singer Lucy Reed moved to New York City to play at the Village Vanguard and The Blue Angel, and in August she recorded The Singing Reed with a group that included Evans. Bill Evans_sentence_70

During this period, he met two of Reed's friends: manager Helen Keane, who became his agent seven years later, and George Russell, with whom he soon worked. Bill Evans_sentence_71

That year, he also made his first recording, in a small ensemble, in Dick Garcia's A Message from Garcia. Bill Evans_sentence_72

In parallel, Evans kept up his work with Scott, playing in Preview's Modern Jazz Club in Chicago during December 1956–January 1957, and recording The Complete Tony Scott. Bill Evans_sentence_73

After the Complete sessions, Scott left for a long overseas tour. Bill Evans_sentence_74

Work with George Russell Bill Evans_section_4

Evans met George Russell during his tenure with Lucy Reed. Bill Evans_sentence_75

Russell's first impression of Evans was negative ("this is going to be like pulling teeth all day"), but when he secretly heard Evans play, he completely changed his mind. Bill Evans_sentence_76

Russell was then developing his magnum opus, the treatise Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, in which he argued that the Lydian mode was more compatible with tonality than the major scale used in most music. Bill Evans_sentence_77

This was groundbreaking in jazz, and soon influenced musicians like Miles Davis. Bill Evans_sentence_78

Evans, who was already acquainted with these ideas, began to work with Russell in 1956. Bill Evans_sentence_79

By this time, RCA Victor had begun a series of recordings called Jazz Workshop, and soon Russell, through the intervention of McKustic and Jack Lewis, was granted his own record date. Bill Evans_sentence_80

Then Russell assembled trumpeter Art Farmer, guitarist Barry Galbraith, bassist Milt Hinton and Evans for three recording dates, along with rehearsal sessions. Bill Evans_sentence_81

In these, only the bassist was given a written part, while the rest were left, and, according to Farmer, "took the parts at home and tried to come to terms with them". Bill Evans_sentence_82

The album took a year to make, and was successful enough to enable Russell to escape his penurious lifestyle. Bill Evans_sentence_83

Evans performed a notable solo in "Concerto for Billy the Kid". Bill Evans_sentence_84

In September 1956, producer Orrin Keepnews was convinced to record the reluctant Evans by a demo tape Mundell Lowe played to him over the phone. Bill Evans_sentence_85

The result was his debut album, New Jazz Conceptions, featuring the original versions of "Waltz for Debby" and "Five". Bill Evans_sentence_86

The album began Evans's relationship with Riverside Records. Bill Evans_sentence_87

Although a critical success that gained positive reviews in Down Beat and Metronome magazines, New Jazz Conceptions was initially a financial failure, selling only 800 copies the first year. Bill Evans_sentence_88

"Five" was for some time Evans's trio farewell tune during performances. Bill Evans_sentence_89

After releasing the album, Evans spent much time studying J. Bill Evans_sentence_90 S. Bach's music to improve his technique. Bill Evans_sentence_91

In 1957, Russell was one of six composers (three jazz, three classical) Brandeis University commissioned to write a piece for its Festival of the Creative Arts in the context of the first experiments in third stream jazz. Bill Evans_sentence_92

Russell wrote a suite for orchestra, "All About Rosie", that featured Evans, among other soloists. Bill Evans_sentence_93

"All About Rosie" has been cited as one of the few convincing examples of composed polyphony in jazz. Bill Evans_sentence_94

A week before the festival, the piece was previewed on TV, and Evans's performance was deemed "legendary" in jazz circles. Bill Evans_sentence_95

During the festival performance, on June 6, Evans became acquainted with Chuck Israels, who became his bassist years later. Bill Evans_sentence_96

During the Brandeis Festival, guitarist Joe Puma invited Evans to play on the album Joe Puma/Jazz. Bill Evans_sentence_97

That year, Evans also met bassist Scott LaFaro while auditioning him for a place in an ensemble led by trumpeter Chet Baker, and was impressed. Bill Evans_sentence_98

LaFaro joined his trio three years later. Bill Evans_sentence_99

Evans also appeared on albums by Charles Mingus, Oliver Nelson, Tony Scott, Eddie Costa and Art Farmer. Bill Evans_sentence_100

Work with Miles Davis, Everybody Digs Bill Evans, and Kind of Blue Bill Evans_section_5

Main article: Kind of Blue Bill Evans_sentence_101

In February 1958, Russell, at Miles Davis's urging, drove Evans over to the Colony Club in Brooklyn, to play with Davis' sextet. Bill Evans_sentence_102

By that time, the band consisted of John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. Bill Evans_sentence_103

Evans knew it was an audition, and that he might replace the recently fired Red Garland. Bill Evans_sentence_104

By the end of the night, Davis told Evans that he would be playing their next engagement in Philadelphia. Bill Evans_sentence_105

While the band used to play a mixture of jazz standards and bebop originals, by that time Davis had begun his venture in modal jazz, having just released his album Milestones. Bill Evans_sentence_106

Evans joined the group in April 1958. Bill Evans_sentence_107

The band appeared in radio broadcasts on Saturday nights and, on May 3, the new formation made its first broadcast from Café Bohemia (its usual locale). Bill Evans_sentence_108

On May 17, the radio material would be recorded on the album Makin' Wax, the first documented evidence of Evans with Davis. Bill Evans_sentence_109

By mid-May, Jimmy Cobb replaced Philly Joe Jones, with whom Evans had developed a close friendship. Bill Evans_sentence_110

On May 26, Evans made his first studio recordings with Davis, which were first issued as part of Jazz Track, and later reissued on 1958 Miles. Bill Evans_sentence_111

A performance of the Ballets Africains from Guinea, in 1958, had originally sparked Davis' interest in modal music. Bill Evans_sentence_112

This music stayed for long periods of time on a single chord, weaving in and out of consonance and dissonance. Bill Evans_sentence_113

Another influence was George Russell's treatise. Bill Evans_sentence_114

Both influences coalesced in Davis' conception of modal jazz offering an alternative to chord changes and major/minor key relationships, relying instead on a series of modal scales. Bill Evans_sentence_115

He realized that Evans, who had worked with Russell, could follow him into modal music. Bill Evans_sentence_116

At the same time, Evans introduced Davis to European classical music. Bill Evans_sentence_117

The band's mostly black followers did not react favourably to the replacement of the charismatic Garland with a white musician. Bill Evans_sentence_118

Davis used to tease him and Evans's sensitivity perhaps let it get to him. Bill Evans_sentence_119

However, the band began to find a new, smoother groove, as Adderley noted: "When he started to use Bill, Miles changed his style from very hard to a softer approach." Bill Evans_sentence_120

In July 1958, Evans appeared as a sideman on Adderley's album Portrait of Cannonball, featuring the first performance of "Nardis", specially written by Davis for the session. Bill Evans_sentence_121

While Davis was not very satisfied with the performance, he said that from then on, Evans was the only one to play it in the way he wanted. Bill Evans_sentence_122

The piece came to be associated with Evans's future trios, which played it frequently. Bill Evans_sentence_123

By the end of the summer, Davis knew Evans was quickly approaching his full professional development; and that he would soon decide to leave Davis' group. Bill Evans_sentence_124

This year, Evans won the Down Beat International Critics' Poll for his work with Davis and his album New Jazz Conceptions. Bill Evans_sentence_125

In September 1958, Evans recorded as a sideman in Art Farmer's album Modern Art, also featuring Benny Golson. Bill Evans_sentence_126

All three had won the Down Beat poll. Bill Evans_sentence_127

Later, Evans deemed this record as one of his favorites. Bill Evans_sentence_128

During this period, despite all the successes, Evans was visiting a psychiatrist, as he was unsure whether he wanted to continue as a pianist. Bill Evans_sentence_129

Evans left Davis' sextet in November 1958 and stayed with his parents in Florida and his brother in Louisiana. Bill Evans_sentence_130

While he was burned out, one of the main reasons for leaving was his father's illness. Bill Evans_sentence_131

During this sojourn, the always self-critical Evans suddenly felt his playing had improved. Bill Evans_sentence_132

"While I was staying with my brother in Baton Rouge, I remember finding that somehow I had reached a new level of expression in my playing. Bill Evans_sentence_133

It had come almost automatically, and I was very anxious about it, afraid I might lose it." Bill Evans_sentence_134

Shortly after, he moved back to New York, and in December Evans recorded the trio album Everybody Digs Bill Evans for Riverside Records with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Bill Evans_sentence_135

This was Evans's second album as a leader, since New Jazz Conceptions, recorded two years earlier. Bill Evans_sentence_136

While producer Orrin Keepnews had many times tried to persuade Evans to make a second trio recording, the pianist felt he had nothing new to say... until then. Bill Evans_sentence_137

He had also been too busy traveling with Davis to make a record. Bill Evans_sentence_138

One of the pieces to appear on the album was Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time". Bill Evans_sentence_139

Evans started to play an introduction using an ostinato figure. Bill Evans_sentence_140

However, according to Keepnews, who was present, the pianist spontaneously started to improvise over that harmonic frame, creating the recording that would be named "Peace Piece". Bill Evans_sentence_141

According to Evans: "What happened was that I started to play the introduction, and it started to get so much of its own feeling and identity that I just figured, well, I'll keep going." Bill Evans_sentence_142

However, Gretchen Magee claims that the piece had been penned as an exercise during his college years, while Peri Cousins says that he would often play the piece at home. Bill Evans_sentence_143

Evans returned to the Davis sextet in early 1959, at the trumpeter's request, to record Kind of Blue, often considered the best-selling jazz album of all time. Bill Evans_sentence_144

As usual, during the sessions of Kind of Blue, Miles Davis called for almost no rehearsal and the musicians had little idea what they were to record. Bill Evans_sentence_145

Davis had given the band only sketches of scales and melody lines on which to improvise. Bill Evans_sentence_146

Once the musicians were assembled, Davis gave brief instructions for each piece and then set about taping the sextet in studio. Bill Evans_sentence_147

During the creative process of Kind of Blue, Davis handed Evans a piece of paper with two chords—G minor and A augmented—and asked "What would you do with that?" Bill Evans_sentence_148

Evans spent the next night writing what would become "Blue in Green". Bill Evans_sentence_149

However, when the album came out, the song was attributed exclusively to Davis. Bill Evans_sentence_150

When Evans suggested he might deserve a share of the royalties, Davis offered him a check for $25. Bill Evans_sentence_151

Evans also penned the liner notes for Kind of Blue, comparing jazz improvisation to Japanese visual art. Bill Evans_sentence_152

By the fall of 1959, Evans had started his own trio with Jimmy Garrison and Kenny Dennis, but it was short-lived. Bill Evans_sentence_153

Sometime during the late 1950s, most probably before joining Miles Davis, Evans began using heroin. Bill Evans_sentence_154

Philly Joe Jones has been cited as an especially bad influence in this aspect. Bill Evans_sentence_155

Although Davis seems to have tried to help Evans kick his addiction, he did not succeed. Bill Evans_sentence_156

Evans's first long-term romance was with a black woman named Peri Cousins (for whom "Peri's Scope" was named), during the second half of the 1950s. Bill Evans_sentence_157

The couple had problems booking in hotels during Evans's gigs, since most of them did not allow inter-racial couples. Bill Evans_sentence_158

By the turn of the decade, Evans had met a waitress named Ellaine Schultz, who would become his partner for twelve years. Bill Evans_sentence_159

Trio with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian Bill Evans_section_6

In mid-1959 Scott LaFaro, who was playing up the street from Evans, said he was interested in developing a trio. Bill Evans_sentence_160

LaFaro suggested Paul Motian, who had already appeared in some of Evans's first solo albums, as the drummer for the new band. Bill Evans_sentence_161

The trio with LaFaro and Motian became one of the most celebrated piano trios in jazz. Bill Evans_sentence_162

With this group Evans's focus settled on traditional jazz standards and original compositions, with an added emphasis on interplay among band members. Bill Evans_sentence_163

Evans and LaFaro would achieve a high level of musical empathy. Bill Evans_sentence_164

In December 1959 the band recorded its first album, Portrait in Jazz for Riverside Records. Bill Evans_sentence_165

In early 1960, the trio began a tour that brought them to Boston, San Francisco (at Jazz Workshop club), and Chicago (at the Sutherland Lounge). Bill Evans_sentence_166

After returning in February, the band performed at the New York City Hall, and then settled at Birdland, Count Basie's headquarters. Bill Evans_sentence_167

While the trio did not produce any studio records in 1960, two bootleg recordings from radio broadcasts from April and May were illegally released, something that infuriated Evans. Bill Evans_sentence_168

Later, they would be posthumously issued as The 1960 Birdland Sessions. Bill Evans_sentence_169

In parallel with his trio work, Evans kept his work as a sideman. Bill Evans_sentence_170

In 1960, he performed on singer Frank Minion's album The Soft Land of Make Believe, featuring versions of some of the Kind of Blue tunes with lyrics, along with Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. Bill Evans_sentence_171

That year, he also recorded The Soul of Jazz Percussion, with Philly Joe Jones and Chambers. Bill Evans_sentence_172

In May 1960, the trio performed at one of the Jazz Profiles concerts, organized by Charles Schwartz. Bill Evans_sentence_173

Around this time, Evans hired Monte Kay as his manager. Bill Evans_sentence_174

During one of his concerts at the Jazz Gallery, Evans contracted hepatitis, and had to retreat to his parents' house in Florida. Bill Evans_sentence_175

While recovering, Evans recorded, as sidesman, in The Great Kai & J. J., and The Incredible Kai Winding Trombones for Impulse! Bill Evans_sentence_176 Records. Bill Evans_sentence_177

In May and August 1960, Evans appeared in Russell's album Jazz in the Space Age for Decca, while in late 1960, he performed on Jazz Abstractions, an album recorded under the leadership of Gunther Schuller and John Lewis. Bill Evans_sentence_178

In 1961, Evans produced four albums in rapid succession. Bill Evans_sentence_179

The first, Explorations, was recorded in February 1961. Bill Evans_sentence_180

According to Orrin Keepnews, the atmosphere during the recording sessions was tense, Evans and LaFaro having had an argument over extra-musical matters; in addition, Evans was complaining of headaches and LaFaro was playing with a loaned bass. Bill Evans_sentence_181

The disc features the first trio version of "Nardis", since Evans had recorded it with Cannonball Adderley. Bill Evans_sentence_182

Apart from "Nardis" and "Elsa", the album consisted of jazz standards. Bill Evans_sentence_183

Ironically, after recording, Evans was utterly unwilling to release it, believing the trio had played badly. Bill Evans_sentence_184

However, upon hearing the recording, he changed his mind, and later thought of it in very positive terms. Bill Evans_sentence_185

In February 1961, shortly after the Explorations sessions, he appeared as a sideman in Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Bill Evans_sentence_186

Finally, in late June 1961 the trio recorded two albums, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, and Waltz for Debby. Bill Evans_sentence_187

These albums were live recordings from the same live date, and are often named among the best ever jazz recordings. Bill Evans_sentence_188

Evans later showed special satisfaction with these recordings, seeing them as the culmination of the musical interplay of his trio. Bill Evans_sentence_189

After LaFaro's death Bill Evans_section_7

LaFaro's death, at the age of 25, in a car accident, ten days after the Vanguard performances, devastated Evans. Bill Evans_sentence_190

He did not record or perform in public again for several months. Bill Evans_sentence_191

In October 1961, persuaded by his producer Orrin Keepnews, Evans reappeared on the musical scene with an album with Mark Murphy. Bill Evans_sentence_192

With new bassist Chuck Israels, they recorded in December Nirvana, with flautist Herbie Mann, soon followed by Undercurrent, with guitarist Jim Hall. Bill Evans_sentence_193

When he re-formed his trio in 1962, two albums, Moon Beams and How My Heart Sings! Bill Evans_sentence_194

resulted. Bill Evans_sentence_195

In 1963, after having switched from Riverside to the much more widely distributed Verve (for financial reasons related to his drug addiction), he recorded Conversations with Myself, an innovative album which featured overdubbing, layering up to three individual tracks of piano for each song. Bill Evans_sentence_196

The album won him his first Grammy award. Bill Evans_sentence_197

Evans's heroin addiction increased following LaFaro's death. Bill Evans_sentence_198

His girlfriend Ellaine was also an addict. Bill Evans_sentence_199

Evans habitually had to borrow money from friends, and eventually, his electricity and telephone services were shut down. Bill Evans_sentence_200

Evans said, "You don't understand. Bill Evans_sentence_201

It's like death and transfiguration. Bill Evans_sentence_202

Every day you wake in pain like death and then you go out and score, and that is transfiguration. Bill Evans_sentence_203

Each day becomes all of life in microcosm." Bill Evans_sentence_204

Evans never allowed heroin to interfere with his musical discipline, according to a BBC record review article which contrasts Evans's addiction with that of Chet Baker. Bill Evans_sentence_205

On one occasion while injecting heroin, he hit a nerve and temporarily disabled it, performing a full week's engagement at the Village Vanguard virtually one-handed. Bill Evans_sentence_206

During this time, Helen Keane began having an important influence, as she significantly helped to maintain the progress of Evans's career despite his self-destructive lifestyle, and the two developed a strong relationship. Bill Evans_sentence_207

In summer 1963, Evans and his girlfriend Ellaine left their flat in New York and settled in his parents' home in Florida, where, it seems, they quit the habit for some time. Bill Evans_sentence_208

Even though never legally married, Bill and Ellaine were, in all other respects, husband and wife. Bill Evans_sentence_209

At that time, Ellaine meant everything to Bill, and was the only person with whom he felt genuine comfort. Bill Evans_sentence_210

Though he recorded many albums for Verve, their artistic quality was uneven. Bill Evans_sentence_211

Despite Israels' fast development and the creativity of new drummer Larry Bunker, they were ill-represented by the perfunctory album Bill Evans Trio with Symphony Orchestra, featuring Gabriel Fauré's Pavane. Bill Evans_sentence_212

Some recordings in unusual contexts were made, such as a big-band live album recorded at Town Hall, New York that was never issued owing to Evans's dissatisfaction with it (although the more successful jazz trio portion of the Pavane concert was released), and an album with a symphony orchestra that was not warmly received by critics. Bill Evans_sentence_213

Live recordings and bootleg radio broadcasts from this time period represent some of the trio's better work. Bill Evans_sentence_214

In 1965, the trio with Israels and Bunker went on a well-received European tour and recorded a BBC special. Bill Evans_sentence_215

Evans meets Eddie Gómez Bill Evans_section_8

In 1966, Evans discovered the young Puerto Rican bassist Eddie Gómez. Bill Evans_sentence_216

In what turned out to be an eleven-year stay, Gómez sparked new developments in Evans's trio conception. Bill Evans_sentence_217

One of the most significant releases during this period is Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival (1968), which won him his second Grammy award. Bill Evans_sentence_218

It has remained a critical favorite, and is one of two albums Evans made with drummer Jack DeJohnette. Bill Evans_sentence_219

Other highlights from this period include "Solo – In Memory of His Father" from Bill Evans at Town Hall (1966), which also introduced "Turn Out the Stars"; a second pairing with guitarist Jim Hall, Intermodulation (1966); and the solo album Alone (1968, featuring a 14-minute version of "Never Let Me Go"), that won his third Grammy award. Bill Evans_sentence_220

In 1968, drummer Marty Morell joined the trio and remained until 1975, when he retired to family life. Bill Evans_sentence_221

This was Evans's most stable, longest-lasting group. Bill Evans_sentence_222

Evans had overcome his heroin habit and was entering a period of personal stability. Bill Evans_sentence_223

Between 1969 and 1970 Evans recorded From Left to Right, featuring his first use of electric piano. Bill Evans_sentence_224

Between May and June 1971 Evans recorded The Bill Evans Album, which won two Grammy awards. Bill Evans_sentence_225

This all-originals album (four new), also featured alternation between acoustic and electric piano. Bill Evans_sentence_226

One of these was "Comrade Conrad", a tune that had originated as a Crest toothpaste jingle and had later been reelaborated and dedicated to Conrad Mendenhall, a friend who had died in a car accident. Bill Evans_sentence_227

Other albums included The Tokyo Concert (1973); Since We Met (1974); and But Beautiful (1974; released in 1996), featuring the trio plus saxophonist Stan Getz in live performances from the Netherlands and Belgium. Bill Evans_sentence_228

Morell was an energetic, straight-ahead drummer, unlike many of the trio's former percussionists, and many critics feel that this was a period of little growth for Evans. Bill Evans_sentence_229

After Morell left, Evans and Gómez recorded two duo albums, Intuition and Montreux III. Bill Evans_sentence_230

In the early 1970s, Evans was caught at New York's JFK airport with a suitcase containing heroin. Bill Evans_sentence_231

Although the police put him in jail for the night he was not charged. Bill Evans_sentence_232

But both he and Ellaine had to begin methadone treatment. Bill Evans_sentence_233

In 1973, while working in Redondo Beach, California, Evans met and fell in love with Nenette Zazzara, despite his long-term relationship with Ellaine. Bill Evans_sentence_234

When Evans broke the news to Ellaine, she pretended to understand, but then committed suicide by throwing herself under a subway train. Bill Evans_sentence_235

Evans's relatives believe that Ellaine's infertility, coupled with Bill's desire to have a son, may have influenced those events. Bill Evans_sentence_236

As a result, Evans went back on heroin for a while, then got into a methadone treatment program. Bill Evans_sentence_237

In August 1973, Evans married Nenette, and, in 1975, they had a child, Evan. Bill Evans_sentence_238

The new family, which also included Evans's stepdaughter Maxine, lived in a large house in Closter, New Jersey. Bill Evans_sentence_239

Both remained very close until his death. Bill Evans_sentence_240

Nenette and Bill remained married until Bill's death in 1980. Bill Evans_sentence_241

In 1974, Bill Evans recorded a multimovement jazz concerto written for him by Claus Ogerman entitled Symbiosis. Bill Evans_sentence_242

The 1970s also saw Evans collaborate with the singer Tony Bennett on 1975s The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album and 1977s Together Again. Bill Evans_sentence_243

In 1975, Morell was replaced by drummer Eliot Zigmund. Bill Evans_sentence_244

Several collaborations followed, and it was not until 1977 that the trio was able to record an album together. Bill Evans_sentence_245

Both I Will Say Goodbye (Evans's last album for Fantasy Records) and You Must Believe in Spring (for Warner Bros.) highlighted changes that would become significant in the last stage of Evans's life. Bill Evans_sentence_246

A greater emphasis was placed on group improvisation and interaction, and new harmonic experiments were attempted. Bill Evans_sentence_247

Gómez and Zigmund left Evans in 1978. Bill Evans_sentence_248

Evans then asked Philly Joe Jones, the drummer he considered his "all-time favorite drummer", to fill in. Bill Evans_sentence_249

Several bassists were tried, with Michael Moore staying the longest. Bill Evans_sentence_250

Evans finally settled on Marc Johnson on bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums. Bill Evans_sentence_251

This trio would be Evans's last. Bill Evans_sentence_252

Last years Bill Evans_section_9

In April 1979, Evans met Canadian waitress Laurie Verchomin, with whom he had a relationship until his death. Bill Evans_sentence_253

Verchomin was 28 years younger. Bill Evans_sentence_254

At the beginning of a several-week tour of the trio through the Pacific Northwest in the spring of 1979, Evans learned that his brother, Harry, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, had committed suicide at age 52. Bill Evans_sentence_255

This news shocked him deeply, and some of the concerts had to be canceled. Bill Evans_sentence_256

His friends and relatives believe that this event precipitated his own death the following year. Bill Evans_sentence_257

Marc Johnson recalled: "This fateful trip marks [...] the beginning of the end. Bill Evans_sentence_258

Bill's willingness to play and work decreased noticeably after the death of Harry, actually it was just the music itself that held him upright. Bill Evans_sentence_259

He fulfilled his obligations because he needed money, but these were the few moments in his life when he felt comfortable — the times in between must have been depressing, and he barely showed a willingness to live." Bill Evans_sentence_260

In August 1979, Evans recorded his last studio album, We Will Meet Again, featuring a composition of the same name written for his brother. Bill Evans_sentence_261

The album won a Grammy award posthumously in 1981, along with I Will Say Goodbye. Bill Evans_sentence_262

Drug addiction and death Bill Evans_section_10

During the late 1970s, Evans kicked his heroin habit, with the help of methadone, only to become addicted to cocaine. Bill Evans_sentence_263

He started with one gram per weekend, but later started taking several grams daily. Bill Evans_sentence_264

His brother Harry's suicide may have also influenced his emotional state after 1979. Bill Evans_sentence_265

His sister-in-law Pat Evans has stated that she knew Bill would not last long after Harry's death and she wondered if that is what prompted her to buy three plots in a Baton Rouge Cemetery, where Harry was interred. Bill Evans_sentence_266

It has been documented that he voluntarily quit his treatment for chronic hepatitis. Bill Evans_sentence_267

Laurie Verchomin has claimed that Evans was clear in mind that he would die in a short time. Bill Evans_sentence_268

On September 15, 1980, Evans, who had been in bed for several days with stomach pains at his home in Fort Lee, was accompanied by Joe LaBarbera and Verchomin to the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he died that afternoon. Bill Evans_sentence_269

The cause of death was a combination of peptic ulcer, cirrhosis, bronchial pneumonia, and untreated hepatitis. Bill Evans_sentence_270

Evans's friend Gene Lees described Evans's struggle with drugs as "the longest suicide in history." Bill Evans_sentence_271

He was interred in Baton Rouge, next to his brother Harry. Bill Evans_sentence_272

Services were held in Manhattan on Friday, September 19. Bill Evans_sentence_273

A tribute, planned by producer Orrin Keepnews and Tom Bradshaw, was held on the following Monday, September 22, at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Bill Evans_sentence_274

Fellow musicians paid homage to the late pianist in the first days of the 1980 Monterey Jazz Festival, which had opened that very week: Dave Brubeck played his own "In Your Own Sweet Way" on the 19th, The Manhattan Transfer would follow on the 20th, while John Lewis dedicated "I'll Remember April". Bill Evans_sentence_275

Music and style Bill Evans_section_11

Bill Evans is seen as the main reformer of the harmonic language of jazz piano. Bill Evans_sentence_276

Evans's harmonic language was influenced by impressionist composers such as Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Bill Evans_sentence_277

His versions of jazz standards, as well as his own compositions, often featured thorough reharmonisations. Bill Evans_sentence_278

Musical features included added tone chords, modal inflections, unconventional substitutions, and modulations. Bill Evans_sentence_279

One of Evans's distinctive harmonic traits is excluding the root in his chords, leaving this work to the bassist, played on another beat of the measure, or just left implied. Bill Evans_sentence_280

"If I am going to be sitting here playing roots, fifths and full voicings, the bass is relegated to a time machine." Bill Evans_sentence_281

This idea had already been explored by Ahmad Jamal, Erroll Garner, and Red Garland. Bill Evans_sentence_282

In Evans's system, the chord is expressed as a quality identity and a color. Bill Evans_sentence_283

Most of Evans's harmonies feature added note chords or quartal voicings. Bill Evans_sentence_284

Thus, Evans created a self-sufficient language for the left hand, a distinctive voicing, that allowed the transition from one chord to the next while hardly having to move the hand. Bill Evans_sentence_285

With this technique, he created an effect of continuity in the central register of the piano. Bill Evans_sentence_286

Lying around middle C, in this region the harmonic clusters sounded the clearest, and at the same time, left room for contrapuntal independence with the bass. Bill Evans_sentence_287

Evans's improvisations relied heavily on motivic development, either melodically or rhythmically. Bill Evans_sentence_288

Motives may be broken and recombined to form melodies. Bill Evans_sentence_289

Another characteristic of Evans's style is rhythmic displacement. Bill Evans_sentence_290

His melodic contours often describe arches. Bill Evans_sentence_291

Other characteristics include sequenciation of melodies and transforming one motive into another. Bill Evans_sentence_292

He plays with one hand in the time signature of 4/4 and the other momentarily in 3/4. Bill Evans_sentence_293

At the beginning of his career, Evans used block chords heavily. Bill Evans_sentence_294

He later abandoned them in part. Bill Evans_sentence_295

During a 1978 interview, Marian McPartland asked: Bill Evans_sentence_296

Bill Evans_description_list_0

  • "How do you think your playing has changed since you first started? Is it deliberate or is it just happening to change?"Bill Evans_item_0_0

Bill Evans_description_list_1

  • Bill Evans: "Well it's deliberate, ahh but I stay along the same lines...I try to get a little deeper into what I'm doing. As far as that kind of playing goes, [jazz playing rather than an earlier example where he played Waltz for Debbie without any improvisation or sense of swing], I think my left hand is a little more competent and uhh...of course I worked a lot on inner things happening like inner voices I've worked on."Bill Evans_item_1_1

At least during his late years, Evans's favorite keys to play in were A and E. Evans greatly valued Bach's music, which influenced his playing style and which helped him gain good touch and finger independence. Bill Evans_sentence_297

"Bach changed my hand approach to playing the piano. Bill Evans_sentence_298

I used to use a lot of finger technique when I was younger, and I changed over to a weight technique. Bill Evans_sentence_299

Actually, if you play Bach and the voices sing at all, and sustain the way they should, you really can't play it with the wrong approach." Bill Evans_sentence_300

Evans valued Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier" and his "Two- and Three-Part Inventions" as excellent practice material. Bill Evans_sentence_301

Influences Bill Evans_section_12

In an interview given in 1964, Evans described Bud Powell as his single greatest influence. Bill Evans_sentence_302

Views on contemporaneous music tendencies Bill Evans_section_13

Evans's career began just before the rock explosion in the 1960s. Bill Evans_sentence_303

During this decade, jazz was swept into a corner, and most new talents had few opportunities to gain recognition, especially in America. Bill Evans_sentence_304

However, Evans believed he had been lucky to gain some exposure before this profound change in the music world, and never had problems finding employers and recording opportunities. Bill Evans_sentence_305

Evans never embraced new music movements; he kept his style intact. Bill Evans_sentence_306

For example, he lamented watching Davis shift his style towards jazz fusion, and blamed the change on considerations of commerce. Bill Evans_sentence_307

Evans commented "I would like to hear more of the consummate melodic master [Davis], but I feel that big business and his record company have had a corrupting influence on his material. Bill Evans_sentence_308

The rock and pop thing certainly draws a wider audience. Bill Evans_sentence_309

It happens more and more these days, that unqualified people with executive positions try to tell musicians what is good and what is bad music." Bill Evans_sentence_310

However, Evans and Davis kept in touch throughout their lives. Bill Evans_sentence_311

While Evans considered himself an acoustic pianist, from the 1970 album From Left to Right on, he also released some material with Fender-Rhodes piano intermissions. Bill Evans_sentence_312

However, unlike other jazz players (e.g. Herbie Hancock) he never fully embraced the new instrument, and invariably ended up returning to the acoustic sound. Bill Evans_sentence_313

"I don't think too much about the electronic thing, except that it's kind of fun to have it as an alternate voice. Bill Evans_sentence_314

(...) [It's] merely an alternate keyboard instrument, that offers a certain kind of sound that's appropriate sometimes. Bill Evans_sentence_315

I find that it's a refreshing auxiliary to the piano—but I don't need it (...) I don't enjoy spending a lot of time with the electric piano. Bill Evans_sentence_316

I play it for a period of time, then I quickly tire of it, and I want to get back to the acoustic piano." Bill Evans_sentence_317

He commented that electronic music: "just doesn't attract me. Bill Evans_sentence_318

I'm of a certain period, a certain evolution. Bill Evans_sentence_319

I hear music differently. Bill Evans_sentence_320

For me, comparing electric bass to acoustic bass is sacrilege." Bill Evans_sentence_321

Personal life Bill Evans_section_14

Bill Evans was an avid reader, in particular philosophy and humorous books. Bill Evans_sentence_322

His shelves held works by Plato, Voltaire, Whitehead, Santayana, Freud, Margaret Mead, Sartre and Thomas Merton; and he had a special fondness for Thomas Hardy's work. Bill Evans_sentence_323

He was fascinated with Eastern religions and philosophies including Islam, Zen, and Buddhism. Bill Evans_sentence_324

It was Evans who introduced John Coltrane to the Indian philosophy of Krishnamurti. Bill Evans_sentence_325

Evans liked to paint and draw. Bill Evans_sentence_326

He was also a keen golfer, a hobby that began on his father's golf course. Bill Evans_sentence_327

Evans had a fondness for horse racing and frequently gambled hundreds of dollars, often winning. Bill Evans_sentence_328

During his last years he even owned a racehorse named "Annie Hall" with producer Jack Rollins. Bill Evans_sentence_329

Reception Bill Evans_section_15

Music critic Richard S. Ginell noted: "With the passage of time, Bill Evans has become an entire school unto himself for pianists and a singular mood unto himself for listeners. Bill Evans_sentence_330

There is no more influential jazz-oriented pianist—only McCoy Tyner exerts nearly as much pull among younger players and journeymen." Bill Evans_sentence_331

Many of Evans's critics have commented on his detachment from the original black roots of jazz, believing that the European and classical traditions are of much greater import. Bill Evans_sentence_332

During his tenure with Davis, Evans had problems with the mostly black audience. Bill Evans_sentence_333

For example, Peter Pettinger has pointed out that in a recording, for his solo on a tune named "Walkin'", Evans received noticeably less applause than the other soloists, and for that on "All Of You", none at all. Bill Evans_sentence_334

When Ken Burns' television miniseries Jazz was released in 2001, it was criticised for neglecting Evans's work after his departure from the Miles Davis' sextet. Bill Evans_sentence_335

Legacy and influence Bill Evans_section_16

Evans has left his mark on such players as Chick Corea, Diana Krall, Ralph Towner, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, John Taylor, Steve Kuhn, Vince Guaraldi, Don Friedman, Marian McPartland, Denny Zeitlin, Paul Bley, Bobo Stenson, Warren Bernhardt, Michel Petrucciani, Lenny Breau, Keith Jarrett, Vicente Inti Jones Alvarado, and Rick Wright of Pink Floyd, as well as many other musicians worldwide. Bill Evans_sentence_336

The music of Bill Evans continues to inspire younger pianists including Fred Hersch, Bill Charlap, Lyle Mays, and Eliane Elias and arguably Brad Mehldau early in his career. Bill Evans_sentence_337

Many of his tunes, such as "Waltz for Debby", "Turn Out the Stars", "Very Early", and "Funkallero", have become often-recorded jazz standards. Bill Evans_sentence_338

During his lifetime, Evans was honored with 31 Grammy nominations and seven Awards. Bill Evans_sentence_339

In 1994, he was posthumously honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill Evans_sentence_340

Evans influenced the character Seb's wardrobe in the film La La Land. Bill Evans_sentence_341

List of compositions Bill Evans_section_17

Main article: List of compositions by Bill Evans Bill Evans_sentence_342

Evans's repertoire consisted of both jazz standards and original compositions. Bill Evans_sentence_343

Many of these were dedicated to people close to him. Bill Evans_sentence_344

Some known examples are: "Waltz for Debby", for his niece; "For Nenette", for his wife; "Letter to Evan", for his son; "NYC's No Lark", in memory of friend pianist Sonny Clark; "Re: Person I Knew", an anagram of the name of his friend and producer Orrin Keepnews; "We Will Meet Again", for his brother; "Peri's Scope", for girlfriend Peri Cousins; "One for Helen" and "Song for Helen", for manager Helen Keane; "B minor Waltz (For Ellaine)", for girlfriend Ellaine Schultz; "Laurie", for girlfriend Laurie Verchomin; "Yet Ne'er Broken", an anagram of the name of cocaine dealer Robert Kenney; "Maxine", for his stepdaughter; "Tiffany", for Joe LaBarbera's daughter; "Knit For Mary F." for fan Mary Franksen from Omaha. Bill Evans_sentence_345

Tribute albums Bill Evans_section_18

Main article: Bill Evans tribute albums Bill Evans_sentence_346

Discography Bill Evans_section_19

Main article: Bill Evans discography Bill Evans_sentence_347

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Evans.