Bill Evans on "April"

I honestly can't recall who turned me on to Lee Konitz's landmark Live at the Half Note (1959), but I just remember it being referred to as "that record of Lennie Tristano's quintet with Jimmy Garrison and Paul Motian, plus Bill Evans subbing on piano." I was instantly sold. I wrote a bit about this record a year and a half ago, right when I had just started my tenure as the editor of Jazz Speaks, concerning the arranged counterpoint on "Scrapple for the Apple." 

The story goes that Lennie reserved Tuesday nights for teaching, so Warne and Lee recruited Evans to join them. He comps very little, but his solo statements are pristine. Check it out:


* * * * *

I haven't given this much thought, but I instinctively prefer this earlier Bill Evans to some of the later trio work, although I haven't really perused his discography in any serious way. Last semester, I played a concert with the NEC big band that featured the music of George Russell that included "All About Rosie," a blisteringly fast composition based off a children's song and arranged in five bar phrases. Bill Evans was the featured soloist on the original live recording, which includes a few choruses of stop-time that are breathtaking. Definitely worth a listen if you haven't heard it.