The Public Records 11/30/18
Hello and welcome to the last album of the week of our jazzy November of 2018. We are going to switch it up here and while still featuring a mid-20th century American master of the genre, the type of music we’ll be dealing with this week is a much more subtle sound.
‘Crosscurrents’ (Fantasty Records, 1978) is a studio album by the Bill Evans’ Trio with Bill on piano, Eddie Gomez on bass, and Eliot Zigmund on drums with both Leo Konitz and Warne Marsh featured on saxophone. ‘Crosscurrents’ reached number 17 on the Billboard Jazz charts of 1979.
Bill Evans was born in New Jersey in 1929. After becoming classically trained as a youth and studying composition at university, Evans moved to New York city in 1955. For a few years he was able to find work with George Russell, who was a bandleader and musical theorist. Evans was picked up by the Miles Davis sextet in 1958. Immersing themselves in modal jazz, Evans and the rest recorded ‘Kind Of Blue’ (59) and during this time Evans also worked with Chet Baker for his 1959 album ‘Chet’.
By the end of that year Evans had left the Davis sextet and formed his own trio with Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums. However, this first trio would be short lived as LaFaro died unexpectedly in a car accident in 1961. After mourning and recollecting himself, Evans would work with various musicians until he met Eddie Gomez in 1966 whom he worked with for eleven years.
Evans won his first Grammy for his 1963 album ‘Conversations With Myself’ on which he layered multiple piano tracks. It was this innovative streak in him that led him to 6 more awards and a total of 31 nominations. Evans has also been inducted into Down Beat’s jazz hall of fame.
However, despite having a long term working relationship with Eddie Gomez as his bass player, it took Evans some time to lock down a drummer. Evans and Gomez would go on to win Grammys with drummers Jack DeJohnette, Marty Morell (his longest serving percussionist 68-75). After Morell retired to pursue a family life, Eliot Zigmund stepped in. It is with this trio that Evans recorded ‘Crosscurrents’.
Evans, like many other jazz greats of his era enjoyed hard living. While some can argue that the lifestyle aided the creative process, this hard living also led to hard get along with and Gomez and Zigmund left the ‘trio’ in the late 70s. Evans would experiment with another line up but unfortunately, due to his hard living, Evans passed at the age of 51 in 1980. Despite leaving us too young, William John Evans left more than his fair share of a mark. Jazz as we know it today has his fingerprints (he was a pianist, get it?) all over it and how exactly the music would have sounded without the Evans’ touch is something we can never know.
Please treat yourself to this wonderful musician and with an equally wonderful Negroni aged in one of our Plymouth Barrels. Because ‘with barrel age, comes beauty’…and Bill Evans!
Be sure to be on the look out for the new release date of the album of the week coming at you Mondays starting in December of 2018.