This welcome release presents a recently discovered concert by piano genius Bill Evans with Eddie Gomez on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Wistful yet soothing, you may find yourself putting the record on constant repeat.
Recorded live at the Netherlands Radio Union in Hilversum in June 1968, the album is the third one released by this particular line-up (Some Other Time: The Lost Session from the Black Forest, reviewed here, was issued in 2016.)
There is something companionable and warm about the ensemble, it’s a little like the vibe that informs the much more recent Louis Stewart/ Jim Doherty album, Tunes. The resemblance of mood, composure allied to a kind of liquid feel, is testament to Evans’ influence on modern-day piano players such as Doherty.
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The album opens with an appealing reading of the Dory & Andre Previn song, You’re Gonna Hear from Me, before moving on to Very Early, a waltz reputedly composed by Evans as far back as the 1940s. All is delicate poise and blithe togetherness, although Gomez unleashes an earthy, woody solo on the latter tune that takes the tune out of itself somehow.
He takes another invigorating solo run on Who Can I Turn To? with the double bass almost trying to speak, to plead for love or salvation, or just someone to take notice. It’s an elegant language, what is being uttered here - nothing too in your face, more down towards the heart area and DeJohnette is the perfect foil.
The Hal David/Burt Bacharach tune Alfie, Embraceable You (written by George and Ira Gershwin in 1928) and the tenderly plangent Johnny Mandel tune Emily follow. Ultimately, you may well find yourself putting the album on repeat for its understated, curiously soothing wistfulness. It's homely at times, and at other times the mood suggests the search for home.