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   » » BarcodeComment: Work-studio-period-sound-village-vanguard-4045180924

Let's get this straight..., February 19, 2005

...the average number of stars should be *five*.There, that's better.I'm a huge Bill Evans aficionado, and love his work from every period of his career. The earlyish period of '58-'61, in which this one falls, was undeniably the pinnacle, though, and this LP is, to me, hands-down the definitive Bill Evans studio album. This same band's work on the Village Vanguard recordings (captured on _Sunday at the Village Vanguard_ and _Waltz for Debby_) actually surpasses _Explorations_, I think, but as a regular studio LP, this one should be duly recognized as one of those absolutely perfect jazz albums, in company with such as Miles Davis' _Kind of Blue_, John Coltrane's _Giant Steps_, and Wayne Shorter's _Speak No Evil_.The sound quality is crystalline, the playing flawless yet soulful, and on top of all that, it's the classic trio with LaFaro and Motian. The track selection just couldn't be improved upon: there's the melodic drive of tunes that sound like...

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...the average number of stars should be *five*.There, that's better.I'm a huge Bill Evans aficionado, and love his work from every period of his career. The earlyish period of '58-'61, in which this one falls, was undeniably the pinnacle, though, and this LP is, to me, hands-down the definitive Bill Evans studio album. This same band's work on the Village Vanguard recordings (captured on _Sunday at the Village Vanguard_ and _Waltz for Debby_) actually surpasses _Explorations_, I think, but as a regular studio LP, this one should be duly recognized as one of those absolutely perfect jazz albums, in company with such as Miles Davis' _Kind of Blue_, John Coltrane's _Giant Steps_, and Wayne Shorter's _Speak No Evil_.The sound quality is crystalline, the playing flawless yet soulful, and on top of all that, it's the classic trio with LaFaro and Motian. The track selection just couldn't be improved upon: there's the melodic drive of tunes that sound like...
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It is difficult to overstate the quality of Bill Evans playing. I have been listening seriously to jazz for over 30 years and I do not believe there is a more consistent artist than Bill Evans. The quality of his work is astonishing, session after session, especially the recordings he did for Riverside. Explorations is deep, swinging and melodic, as are so many of his dates. This session is of particularly high quality, and the version of Nardis is just wonderful. This guy has the ability to play unique versions of every tune he approaches -- his ability to project the inner essence of a song is unmatched. Every cut on this session is great, as the trio is in fine form.
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Some prefer Evans' Portrait in Jazz or Sunday at the Village, but for me, this is the greatest recording by Evans and his all time best trio: Paul Motian on drums and the too soon gone Scott LaFaro on bass. The peaks here for me are the opening number, Israel, which seems to start almost in mid-tune, and Nardis, which is credited to Miles Davis, but became a Bill Evans theme throughout his career.
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