Bill Evans

I'm not sure I can add much to what's already been said about the late and great jazz pianist Bill Evans. I remember something my late sister Erin once said about Bill - he was playing things such as Peace Piece long before we ever heard new age music from pianist such as George Winston. When an artist is so far ahead of where everyone else is (such as Charlie Parker or John Coltrane), then the artist can pay an incredible high price. It is those who innovate the most that usually fall the hardest.

However, Bill never viewed his life in a tragic way. In fact he considered his journey to be a relatively easy one. Granted it was awful to hear of stories about how Bill was rejected during some of his early playing. But for the most part there is much more beauty and expression in what we hear from the great artist such as Bill Evans or Charlie Parker.

I remember listening to Bill at our home in Baton Rouge and I was amazed at the sound he could get out of the piano. The way he struck the keys in a certain way or the use of the pedals to bend notes. There was so much going on "under the hood" that one had to pay extremely close attention to his playing. Even his phrasing and where he played in the register were different. So it was easy to miss what was going on and simply dismiss his playing as average.

Perhaps Jack Maher put it best in his liner notes on Bill's Trio 64 LP: "The broad meaning of music is so personal that it's useless to try and explain it. It has to do with the vague, half-dreamed things that dart through a person's mind as he thinks and feels. It's not only the meat and potatoes of life but the cotton and gauze as well."

-Matt Evans

Listen to Rare Recordings of the Bill Evans Trio