Bill Evans on "Witchcraft" + Hank Jones on "Confirmation"

Last week I passed on Transcription Tuesday because I had made a pledge with some friends not to bring our laptops to Vermont during spring break. In retrospect, I still think that was a good call, but I thought I'd make up for last week with an extra solo. Ever since Miguel has been having me transcribe classic '60s Blue Note Herbie for my lessons, I've been increasingly cognizant of the great players in the bebop tradition and thought I'd take a closer look at their improvisations. 
Hank Jones at Newport '05 (Ed Newman)

I don't think many would disagree that Bill Evans and Hank Jones are two pianists who are most reliably described as "elegant." They're definitely two of the more mainstream, more widely disseminated stylists of the jazz piano tradition, but certainly for good reason. In some ways, I hear a strong Bill Evans influence (or at least confluence) in some of Chris Potter's rhythmic bebop phrasing—all the instantaneous shifts of momentum in a line with interpolated triplets, arpeggio fragments, and eight note-two sixteenths constructions that I originally found so refreshing in Chris's playing I rediscovered in Bill's single-line playing a few years ago. 

I haven't checked out Hank Jones enough (this is the first solo of his that I've transcribed), but I'm looking forward to digging into more of his improvisations in the near future. It's interesting how clichés don't sound like clichés the way that he phrases certain familiar melodic ideas; my first instinct is that this has to do with authenticity in some way, that Jones was the progenitor or at least early adopter of many of these ideas with Bird and the original bebop musicians, but I think it also has much to do with the overall aesthetic of his playing. These ideas really fit into his approach naturally; they're as far from contrived as can be.

Here's Bill Evans on "Witchcraft," from Portrait in Jazz (1959) with Paul Motian and Scott LaFaro:

And here's Hank Jones on "Confirmation," from Master Class (1977) with Sam Jones and Mickey Roker:

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Also, this open letter to Cornelia Street Café by pianist Adam Tendler has been rapidly transmitted through jazz social media networks over the past few days. I've only been to Cornelia Street a couple times, but I've never had a problem; the experience Tendler describes sounds like a drag, but market forces + art always tends to = ??? 

I've also heard that the son of the owner of Cornelia Street is a student at Harvard, but I've also never heard it confirmed. Inconsequential, in any case.


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