SKF NOTE: Listening for only the second time to the Bill Evans Trio “Another Time: The Hilversum Concert” with Eddie Gomez (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums). Evans is one of my “must have” musicians. No, I don’t own all of his albums, but I own quite a few and always enjoy and learn with each listen.
“A Simple Matter of Conviction” was among my first Bill Evans album purchases. With Eddie Gomez (bass) and Shelly Manne (drums) — I love this date, and Shelly’s interaction with Bill is, for my ears, perfect.
Charlie Watts described his first Bill Evans Trio experience as one of listening to nobody keeping time, yet all the musicians knowing exactly where they are in the songs, and everyone’s swinging like gangbusters. Charlie was listening to Evans with Scott LaFaro (bass) and Paul Motian (drums), but all Evans’s subsequent trios have followed that same concept.
Once I heard Shelly Manne with Evans I starting imagining Jack DeJohnette in the trio drum chair. And just like magic, I discovered Verve records in 1968 had released Bill Evans “At the Montreaux Jazz Festival” with DeJohnette and Gomez.
I need to listen to that album with year 2020 years. That it is a Grammy Award winner, I was not a major fan of this album. The fault, I suspect, is mine. So many times had I listened to my imaginary Evans/DeJohnette match up, I was unable to listen with open ears to the real thing.
“Another Time: The Hilversum Concert” is much closer to the match up I had in mind. Both “Hilversum” and “Montreaux” were recorded in 1968. One reviewer said DeJohnette on “Montreaux” is propulsive and exploratory. To these ears, Jack on “Montreaux” plays too loud and busy. But again, my first and last listen to “Montreaux” was decades ago. I will listen again.
“Hilversum” is wonderful. Jack plays great. He’s still exploratory and propulsive, but with a delicate touch. It’s more the trio is communicating with what I tell my 6.5 year old grandson is an inside voice. As I remember it, “Montreaux” sounds more like the musicians are yelling at each other from across a playground. Perhaps they were.
I just bought Bill Evans’s “Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest” also with Eddie Gomez and Jack DeJohnette in 1968. This one’s a recording studio session. It should be instructive to listen and compare to “Hilversum” and “Montreaux.”
Whatever the outcome, Bill Evans albums are highly recommended listening for all drummers. Whether the drummer is Paul Motian, Shelly Manne, Larry Bunker, Joe LaBarbera, Jack DeJohnette, Philly Joe Jones, or others — the trio interaction is always top shelf.