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Bill Evans

I NEVER APPROACH THE PIANO AS A THING IN ITSELF, BUT AS A


GATEWAY TO MUSIC.

Who is Bill Evans?

Considered the greatest jazz pianist of all time

Developed a new style of playing

Played with many famous jazz artists

His musical ability was beyond his time

Figure:1
Source: Bill Evans Biography newjazz.blogspot.com

Early Life

Figure: 2
Source: Bill Evans Biography newjazz.blogspot.com

Born in Plainfield NJ, August 16, 1929

Started lessons at the age of 6, playing the


piano, flute, and violin

Started to play professional gigs at the age


of 13

He attended Southern Louisiana University


majoring in music, considering teaching

His guitar player at the time, Mundell Lowe,


convinced him to move to New York City in
1955 with only 75 dollars to his name

Beginning the Jazz Career

He settled in New York City and began playing with local bands in the
area

He began making a name for himself in the jazz community as a


brilliant pianist

His first professional recording was in 1955 when he accompanied


the local jazz singer Lucy Reed

Evans officially broke through in 1956 when Riverside Records, a


popular jazz recording agency, asked Evans to lead his own band
recording

Creative Process

In 1966, Bill Evans sat down with his brother Harry Evans to talk about his
creative process

The whole process of learning the facility of being able to play jazz is to
take these problems from the outer level in, one by one, and to stay with it
at a very intense, conscious-concentration level until that process becomes
secondary and subconscious. Now, when that becomes subconscious, then
you can begin concentrating on that next problem, which will allow you to do
a little bit more. Bill Evans

I dont consider myself as talented as many people but in some ways that
was an advantage because I didnt have a great facility immediately so I had
to be more analytical and in a way that forced me to build something.
Bill Evans

Focus: Peace Piece

One of Bill Evans most famous compositions was called Peace Piece

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Spa5wWFYJqc

Recorded in December of 1958

The recording was unrehearsed and uses a distinct two chord vamp
with a lyrical improvisation style only Evans could pull of

The influences of this song were some classical composers such as


Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel

Focus: Waltz for Debby

Waltz for Debby was one of Bill Evans first songs after he got out of
the Miles Davis Band

Recorded in 1961 with his jazz trio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_Qz6BPPnto

It was unusual because it was only 1 minute and 20 seconds long

Evans brought his usual emotion and lyrical style to this song that
only he could captue

Focus: Blue in Green

Blue in Green was written while Evans was in the Miles Davis
Band

First recording was in 1959

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW_7gRH7ASE

There was much controversy around whether he or Miles Davis


wrote it

Many still today attribute it to Miles Davis and in the 70s he was
receiving royalties from the piece

Evans knew that Miles was getting the royalties but ultimately he
cared more about creating good music than making money

Critics

Evans has a unique position in the jazz cannon. A great white


player, his crisp, clean, dashing style would influence the likes of
Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea. Evans had learnt
his trade listening to contrasting players, chiefly the moody,
introspective Thelonius Monk and the percussive extrovert Bud
Powell. - Charles De Ledesma

Bill had this quiet fire that I loved on the piano. The way he
approached it, the sound he got was like crystal notes or sparkling
water cascading down from some clear waterfall. Miles Davis

Its really hard to be a modern pianist and not be afected by Bill


in some way, as far as touch and feeling and overall interpretation
of tunes, especially ballads. Sullivan Fortner

Legacy

Overall, his pieces lyrical and melodic approach to writing music


has been an inspiration to many great musicians over the years

He is considered the greatest jazz pianist of all time

Figure: 12
Source: allaboutjazz.com

Figure: 11
Source: thegaurdian.com

Work Cited

"AllMusic | Record Reviews, Streaming Songs, Genres & Bands." Web. 28


Apr. 2016.

"Bill Evans Biography." 8notes.com. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

"Bill Evans: 1929-1980." Allaboutjazz.com. 27 Aug. 2004. Web. 21 Mar.


2016.

"Biography and Personality of Pianist and Composer Bill Evans."


Billevans.nl. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

De Ledesma, Charles. "Bill Evans Everyone Digs Bill Evans Review."


Bbc.co.uk. 2007. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Popova, Maria. "Jazz Legend Bill Evans on the Creative Process, SelfTeaching, and Balancing Clarity with Spontaneity in Problem-Solving."
Brainpickings.org. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Ramsey, Doug. "The Bill Evans Legacy." Wall Street Journal. 3 Feb. 2015.
Web. 21 Mar. 2016.