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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Jack Ashby


Bill Evans – ‘Alone’

Verve 589 319 – 2




Personnel Bill Evans – Solo Piano


Here’s That Rainy Day


Track 1 – Alternative Take


A Time for Love


Track 2 – Alternative Take


Midnight Mood


Track 3 – Alternative Take


On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)


Track 4 – Alternative Take


Never Let Me Go


Track 5 – Alternative Take


The Two Lonely People (aka The Man & The Woman)


Medley – All the Things You Are/ Midnight Mood

This is a re-issue of Bill Evan’s first solo album recorded in 1968 and contains seven bonus tracks, six being alternative takes, from the ‘Alone’ sessions – they were recently discovered and not previously issued. Here we have Evans at his best.

In the early 1950s Evans’ was beginning to be recognised as a pianist with great potential and in 1958 he joined Miles Davis. This was a period when Davis also employed John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley and his music was being diverted towards modal improvisation. By then Evans was regarded as an inspired and self-searching musician whose cleverly constituted solos, augmented by masterful harmony, exposed his extensive talent. Although he was only with Miles a very short time it proved to be a vital component in his development.

His next venture was trio work with bassist Scott La Faro and drummer Paul Motian and this together with duo work was the general format of his music until his death in 1980. However, it was inevitable he would make solo recordings and the ‘Alone’ sessions were the result. It would be wrong to say that they were made at the height of his career because his playing hardly ever varied in its high quality.

‘Alone’ is far from ‘easy listening’ – throughout it commands attention. Some fans steer clear of recordings that contain so many retakes and often that is justified but in this case the extra tracks provide evidence of his fresh approach to the repeated performance of a piece. His playing is distinctive but in the composition and length of some of his phrasing there is more than a hint of Lennie Tristano. On a general theme his qualities of performance vary between massive strength coupled with deep harmony to sensitive and delicate melodic lines. ‘Alone ‘ is one of those recordings that warrants listening to repeatedly – each time something new is revealed.

Jack Ashby


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