Here is the complete body of Bill Evans’ work for several labels from 1956 untill his untimely death in 1980. The seven CD-box sets contain altogether 69 discs recorded in club, concert, or studio settings, plus previously unreleased recordings, inclusive the rather “oversized” 18 CD box from Verve label. The cult for Evans’ recordings is big enough to justify the existence of this seven large, expensive boxed sets of his output: four from Fantasy’s archives, one from Warner Bros., one from Timeless Records and the biggest one from Verve. A newcomer, though, would be better-advised to sample Bill Evans in smaller doses. Since the bulk of his recordings were made with the same trio instrumentation with piano, bass and drums , and his career was not marked by major changes in style, prolonged listening to hours upon hours of his trio recordings can lead to monotony. But after all, you can even overdose on CD-box sets of other jazz musicians or classical composers.
The box set The Complete Bill Evans on Verve is one of the most comprehensive retrospectives of any jazz musician in history. The 18 CD’s box is filled with the pianist’s entire output for the Verve label, plus a 160 page book full of rare photos, essays and interviews with producer Creed Taylor and Bill Evans. Moreover two panel sessions, one with other pianists like Steve Kuhn, Andy Laverne and Marc Copland and one session with former collaborators like Marc Johnson, Paul Motian and Gary Peacock. But as a surprise the box package containing the CD’s and book was made out of unfinished steel. The official Verve press release explained that the box was designed to be a unique, collectible object which will change in color, texture and appearance over time. In other words that the box would rust! This rust was thus explained as a metaphor for the organic, evolving nature of Evans work, long after his death.
Bothered buyers got the rust all over hands and clothes and did not know how to deal with it. Creatively they cleaned off the rusted box with some 000 steel wool and then gave it a quick drying spray of lacquer to prevent future rusting.
The Complete Riverside Recordings
Riverside 12 discs (1956-1963)
The Complete Bill Evans On Verve (book)
Verve 18 discs (1962-1970)
Timeless 3 discs (1980)
Beautiful collector’s item 18 LP-Box Set of “The Complete Riverside Recordings” covering 151 performances from 1956-1963 with lots of previously unreleased recordings. Also includes a fully illustrated booklet.