Bill Evans

The Velvet Touch of Bill Evans

In the world of modern jazz masters there is only one man that may exert more influence and pull on both journeymen and younger players alike. His name is Bill Evans. Classically trained, Bill Evans used his extensive training of the works of Debussy and Ravel in compositional structure. This has the effect of reaching out to a lot of conservatory-trained pianists. Evans was a man who believed that harmony and technique should be diligently learned and mastered so that individual talent and inspiration can be maximized.

Bill Evans had an extraordinary work ethic, and he put a lot of time in honing his unique sound and approach to the craft. In the trio setting, he's noted for bringing the piano, bass, and drums together in greater harmony.

Would it surprise anyone that Bill Evans also succumbed to the temptations of drugs at a pivotal juncture in his life? He first found heroin and later formed a close union with the white powder. It seems that very few artists of that time were exempt from the underworld temptations. This fault, like many of his contemporaries, was a major factor in cutting his life short.

The man took a lot of hits because of his conservative background. It's sadly noted that at one time he was criticized for having a soul alien to the historical roots of Africa. Bill could swing with the best of his day. He simply chose a different way to express his enormous talent. This is what true genius is. It doesn't always follow the masses it sets its own standards of excellence. All too often though those standards are not realized until time has glossed over the memory, and the genius is no longer in our midst.

For those of you who love trivia it's interesting to note that his first instrument was actually the flute from which he received a scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana University. This is where he received such a compelling background in theory. You can hear the love for the discipline in all of his recordings.

It's interesting to note how all of the great ones crossed the path of Miles Davis at some time or other. Bill Evans was no exception to the rule. He did an eight-month gig with Miles, but left shortly thereafter to pursue his own career goals. It's no secret that Miles was demanding to a fault on all of the musicians in his band at any point in history. Treat yourself at will to the brilliant musical expressions of Bill Evans.

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