Throughout his years at Southeastern Louisiana College Bill Evans played not only in school groups, but on his own as well. After graduation, he worked with the band of Herbie Fields before being drafted into the U.S. Army. While playing flute in the Fifth Army Band throughout his 1951-54 assignment at Fort Sheridan, near Chicago, by night Evans became a part of the city’s jazz scene. Upon his discharge he decided to pursue a jazz career and settled in New York. During this period he played with the dance band of clarinetist Jerry Wald, who led an orchestra during the swing years and beyond. On two albums one can hear for the very first time Bill Evans playing the piano: Jerry Wald And His Orchestra: Designed for Dancing (MGM 1954). This record has never been reissued and it’s Bill Evans first commercial record date and he is audible on most tracks. All the arrangements are by Al Cohn, who also solos tenor on a few tracks. Later Evans was back on 1955’s Listen to the Music of Jerry Wald and His Orchestra (Kapp KL-1043), Probably because of Evans’ later acclaim as a jazz pianist and composer, the album was reissued by MCA in Japan around 1980 and recently as CD by Solar Records. His first professional recording was made accompanying singer Lucy Reed in 1955. The next years he joined several bands and recorded as a sideman until in 1956 his first album as a leader was recorded by Riverside: New Jazz Conceptions.

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″.

Jerry Wald
Listen To The Music
Kapp 1955

Lucy Reed
The Singing Reed
Fantasy 1955

Dick Garcia
Message From Dick Garcia
Dawn 1955

Tony Scott
The Touch Of Tony Scott
RCA 1956

Tony Scott
The Complete Tony Scott
RCA 1956

Art Farmer and others
Brandeis Festival
CBS 1957

Teddy Wilson and others
At Newport
Verve 1957

Joe Puma
Jubilee 1957

Sahib Shihab
Jazz Sahib
Savoy 1957

Jimmy Knepper
Idol Of The Flies
Bethlehem 1957

Tony Scott
My Kind Of Jazz
Perfect (Jazztone) 1957

Tony Scott
The Modern Art Of Jazz
Seeco 1957

George Russell
Jazz Workshop
RCA 1957

Charle Mingus
East Coasting
Bethlehem 1957

Helen Merrill
The Nearness Of You
Mercury 1957

Idrees Sulieman
Prestige 1957

Tony Scott
Free Blown Jazz
Carlton 1957

Eddie Costa
Guys & Dolls Like Vibes
Coral 1958

Don Elliott
Mellosound Of Don Elliott
Decca 1958

Art Farmer
Modern Art
United Artists 1958

Hal McKusick
Cross Section Saxes
MCA 1958

Miles Davis
Miles’ Tones
Chakra 1958

Miles Davis
1958 Miles
CBS 1958

Michel Legrand
Legrand Jazz
Columbia 1958

Cannonball Adderley
Portrait Of Cannonball
Riverside 1958

Miles Davis
Jazz At The Plaza
CBS 1958

Miles Davis
Miles & Monk At Newport
CBS 1958

Cannonball Adderley
Jump For Joy
Mercury 1958

Chet Baker
New Blue Horns
Riverside 1958

Chet Baker
Introduces Johnny Pace
Riverside 1958

George Russell
New York, N.Y.
Brunswick 1958

Chet Baker
Plays The Best Of Lerner
Riverside 1959

Chet Baker
Riverside 1959

Bill Potts
The Soul Of Porgy & Bess
Heliodor 1959

Miles Davis
Kind Of Blue
CBS 1959

Tony Scott
Golden Moments
Muse 1959

Tony Scott
I’ll Remember
Muse 1959

Tony Scott
Sung Heroes
Sunnyside 1959

Lee Konitz
Konitz Meets Giuffre
Verve 1959

Lee Konitz
Live At The Half Note
Verve 1959

Lee Konitz
You And Lee
Verve 1959

Frank Minion
Soft Land Of Make Believe
Bethlehem 1960

Donald Byrd
The Soul Of Jazz Percussion
Warwick 1960

George Russell
Jazz In The Space Age
Affinity 1960

Kai Winding
The Great Kay & J.J.
Impulse 1960

Gunther Schuller
Jazz Abstractions
Atlantic 1960

Wanda Stafford
In Love for the Very First Time
Roulette Records 1960

Oliver Nelson
Blues And The Abstract Truth
Impulse 1961

Dave Pike
Pike’s Peak
Epic 1961

Marc Murphy
Riverside 1961

Tad Dameron
The Magic Touch
Riverside 1962

Benny Golson
Just Jazz
Audio Fidelity 1962

Cannonball Adderley
Cannonball and Eight Giants
Milestone 1958/1974

Bill Evans
The Sideman Years
Fresh Sound 2011

Don Elliott/Jerry Wald 1958/1955
Solar 2014

Bill Potts Orchestra 1959
Jazz Soul of Porgy & Bess
Fresh Sound 2012