Shame on me. Given how much I love this pianist, and the form of the Jazz Piano Trio that he essentially created (or at least brought it to a whole new level), this is a sin.
To be rectified right now.
Bill’s Three Trios
Bill Evans essentially had three trios over time. He started with the mythic combination of Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian in the 1950s and early 60s, until Scott died tragically in a car accident. If you don’t have Live At The Village Vanguard or Waltz for Debbie, you have missed some outstanding recordings.
For many Bill Evans purists, there is no true Bill Evans after LaFaro’s death. Some may concede that his last trio with Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera did some outstanding recordings (and I’d agree, hence them being listed in my above mentioned 25 essential Jazz albums with Consecration.
However, the trio that Evans ended up playing the longest time, with Eddie Gomez and several different drummers, doesn’t get the same level of awareness.
Which is a pity as there are some true gems, and Gomez has a very particular sound to his bass, which suits Evans really well.
You Must Believe In Spring (Rhino/Warner 1977/1981)
This is the last album that Evans played with Gomez before he left the trio. On drums we feature Eliot Zigmund.
Why do I love this album so much? Well, as mentioned above, Gomez has a really nice sound, and this being a decent studio recording it really comes across very well.
Furthermore there is the title song You Must Believe In Spring, written by the great Michel Legrand for the musical movie Les Demoiselles de Rochefort by the French Director Jacques Demy.
It is taken from one of the most cheesy scenes of the entire movie, the young sailor singing about his troubles trying to find his dream girl, also known as La Chanson de Maxence:
For comparison, here’s Bill Evans version:
For context, I usually hate musicals, and any kind of movie where people all over sudden start singing (sorry, Bollywood), but somehow this movie is different. Probably this is due to the fact that I saw it during my student days in an old Roman theatre in the middle of summer in an open air cinema with good friends.
The entire atmosphere was so nice that I cannot help myself but having positive memories with this movie, and therefore having a Jazz version of this song helps (Note that I had the album before I even saw the movie, and somehow my subconscious recognized the melody when I saw the film for the first time).
The rest of the album is nice mixture of late Bill Evans standards like the famous Theme From M.A.S.H but also some lesser know compositions. All are very enjoyable.
My rating: 4 stars
You can find it here (Qobuz)