Bill Evans

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William John Evans, known as Bill Evans (pronunciation: /??v?ns/, August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980), was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly worked in a trio setting. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, and is considered by some to have been the most influential post-World War II jazz pianist. Evans's 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. Unlike many other jazz musicians of his time, Evans never embraced new movements like jazz fusion or free jazz.Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, Evans was classically trained, and studied at Southeastern Louisiana University. In 1955, he moved to New York, 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.In 1963, Evans recorded Conversations with Myself, an innovative solo album using the unconventional (in jazz solo recordings) technique of overdubbing over himself. In 1966, he met bassist Eddie Gomez, with whom he would work for eleven years. Several successful albums followed, such as Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Alone and The Bill Evans Album, among others.Despite his success as a jazz artist, Evans suffered personal loss and struggled with drug abuse. Both his girlfriend Elaine and his brother Harry committed suicide, and he was a long time user of heroin, and later of cocaine. As a result, his financial stability, personal relationships and musical creativity suffered until his death, in 1980.Many of his compositions, such as "Waltz for Debby", have become standards and have been played and recorded by many artists. Evans was honored with 31 Grammy nominations and seven awards, and was inducted in the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

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Dec 31, 2011. 3:51pm
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On Jul 26, 2009. 10:55am
jpatrickp said

just wonderful - Bill Evans will always be my favourite

On Feb 6, 2010. 10:36am
Stewart said

What a classic version!

On Jul 31, 2015. 9:25pm
Christopher Lynch said

Bill Evans? Incomparable.
Over many decades - I 'arrived' in 1949 - I've seen and heard countless astounding jazz pianists. Yet this quiet, bespectacled, unpretentious soul remains my pianistic idol - the embodiment of sensitive swing.
I was fortunate to be introduced to Bill's sublime playing through my first piano teacher, the soulful Neil Butterworth, who kindly lent me Bill's divine 'Portrait In Jazz" on 10 inch vinyl way back in 1967. This to me was a musical and poetic revelation. Furthermore, Bill's brief solo on the Miles Davis classic "All Blues", from the benchmark 'Kind Of Blue' album, is arguably his finest. Upon every listening to this haunting track I hear something new.
There never has been nor ever will be another keyboard influence as compelling as Bill Evans. Thankyou too Neil 'Butsy' Butterworth!

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