In 1977 Bill Evans and his manager Helen Keane left the small independent Fantasy Records and changed to the major company Warner Brothers where he got a vastly better contract in the hope that his records would be better promoted. Helen Keane became Evans’s manager in 1962 and remained almost longlife his manager and producer. She was taking care of Bill’s personal life and was always at the recording sessions. Bill Evans’s first album for Warner Brothers features the title You Must Believe In Spring by Michel Legrand, the French musician and songwriter. He deliveres one of his finest late-career trio albums since the Riverside years. Two compositions are by Evans himself: the opening track, “B Minor Waltz” reflecting on the suicide of his ex-girlfriend Ellaine, the other “We Will Meet Again” on the suicide of his older brother Harry, a year before the pianist’s own death in 1980. Two elegant jewels of introspective mood, intense feeling and quiet reflection, remembering Chopin or Erik Satie. A tribute poem by poet, friend and jazz pianist Bill Zavatsky is included in the CD booklet, with its first two lines: “Music your hands are no longer here to make/Still breaks against my ear, still shakes my heart”. The reflective mood maintains for the rest of the CD. The album is in many ways the complement of the last Fantasy session I Will Say Goodbye, with the same musicians. Affinity is recorded with the legendary Belgian jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans. It is also the first Evans release to feature bassist Marc Johnson. The album New Conversations is Evans third solo recording of him playing with overdubbed recordings of himself playing other keyboards, including the beautiful composition of Ellington “Reflections in D”. The album We Will Meet Again, find Bill Evans and his rhythm section drummer Joe La Barbera and bassist Marc Johnson in the company of a young trumpeter Tom Harrell and saxophonist and flutist Larry Schneider. The two Paris Concerts with Marc Johnson on bass and the way he plays together with Bill Evans is almost reminiscent of the great Evans-LaFaro-Motian trio recordings.
For a detailed discography of Bill Evans recordings refer to The Bill Evans Webpages created by Jan Stevens: “Bill Evans – The Complete Catalogue Of Recordings 1954 through 1980″.
You Must Believe In Spring
We Will Meet Again
Paris Concert Vol One
Paris Concert Vol Two
THE BILL EVANS TRIO: THE SIDEMEN FROM 1978 TILL 1980.
Eliot Zigmund (1975-1978)
Drummer Eliot Zigmund (1945) studied at Mannes College of Music, where he graduated in 1969. He played with Bennie Wallace, Richard Beirach, Jim Hall, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Fred Hersch, and Red Mitchell before the end of the 1970s. He played with Bill Evans from 1975 to 1978. Subsequently he played with Don Friedman from 1979 to 1984, and joined the trio of Michael Petrucciani until the late 1980s.
Eddie Gomez (1966-1977)
Bassist Eddie Gomez (1944), born in Puerto Rico, emigrated at a young age to the United States and graduated from Juilliard in 1963. He is perhaps most notable for his work done with the Bill Evans trio from 1966 to 1977. He would spend a total of eleven years with the Bill Evans Trio, which included performances throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, as well as dozens of recordings. He performaned with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Marian McPartland, Paul Bley, Wayne Shorter, Steve Gadd, Jeremy Steig, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Al Foster and Chick Corea.
Joe LaBarbera (1978-1980)
Drummer Joe LaBarbera (1948) was formally educated at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He spent two years freelancing with a number of notable musicians,including Jim Hall, Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Gary Burton, Art Pepper, John Scofield, Bob Brookmeyer and Toots Thielemans. In 1978 Joe was asked to join Bill Evans in what was to become a landmark trio. He is best known for his recordings and live performances with this trio in the final years of Evans’s career.
Marc Johnson (1978-1980)
Bassist Marc Johnson (1953) studied at the University of North Texas. The 25-year old Johnson was asked by Bill Evans in 1978, and remained in Evans’s trio until the pianist’s death in 1980. Later on he has played extensively with John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Eliane Elias (to whom he is married), Enrico Pieranunzi, Stan Getz, Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker, Paul Motian, Jack DeJohnette and Gary Burton.