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Jazz Icons: Bill Evans - Live in '64-'75 (2008)

Bill Evans , Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen , Various  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Jazz Icons: Bill Evans - Live in '64-'75 + Bill Evans Trio: The Oslo Concerts + Jazz Icons: Oscar Peterson - Live in '63, '64 & '65
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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Evans, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Alan Dawson, Lee Konitz
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Live, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: NAXOS OF AMERICA DVD
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CW2HJW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,793 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

Bill Evans on DVD. It took me four views to finally understand why Bill Evans: Live '64-'75, the new DVD from Jazz Icons, is so important. During my first two previews, I had written off the video as too dull and plodding to recommend. Then last night I realized what I was doing wrong. I was watching it.

Before I go further, let me first say that this DVD, like all of the videos in the Jazz Icons series, was exquisitely shot and restored. You can't believe how polished and vivid the resolution is and how strong the contrasts and angles are. The problem for me, in general, is that most DVDs of jazz concerts and club dates simply aren't that interesting to watch. If you were actually there, you were in the moment. On video, most live jazz seems much less exciting.

Why? I think by watching jazz performances on video, a good part of your audio perception is distracted by the visual, which childishly insists on more and more action and entertainment. In the process, your visual essentially robs that part of your brain that listens deeply and critically. It's like making too many demands on a power source. The lights dim a little.

Then last night, I viewed the Bill Evans DVD again-but this time on my computer. While viewing, I found I had to take care of some writing. So I started to work, with the visual eclipsed by my Word document. That's when I realized I was listening much more intently to the music of Bill Evans in Sweden (1964), France (1965), Denmark (1970), Sweden (1970) and Denmark (1975). As I worked, I took mini breaks to peek behind my Word document for a few seconds to view different sections of the DVD. And I was always blown away.

That's when I realized how great and significant a DVD this is. The music is beyond superb. Evans takes many of the songs in completely different directions. His 'Round Midnight from the Sweden (1970) chapter may be his most astonishing version of the song. I was blown away. I'll also say that his Sleepin' Bee and You're Gonna Hear From Me are close behind as monumental renditions. And the footage is quite revealing-in nibbles.

And perhaps this is the way all DVDs of jazz performances should be viewed: On your computer, so you can listen hard while doing something else, checking in every so often to see what the artists are up to. Blame it on television. Your brain has been trained to want two guys crashing through a window wrestling for a knife. But listen to a DVD, and it's a whole new bag. I'm going to be listening to this Bill Evans DVD over and over again. Hearing is believing! -- JazzWax.com, Marc Myers, December 21, 2008

Jazz Icons is doing for jazz what the Criterion Collection has done for classic and important films. -- Jazz Times Magazine

Jazz Icons' Bill Evans DVD is an essential addition to the pianist's legacy. -- Jazz.com, Thomas Cunniffe, December 2008

Thanksgiving weekend marks 40 years since the Bill Evans Trio, with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, appeared at Raleigh's Frog and Nightgown. The pianist's "Live '64-'75," part of the third group of Jazz Icons DVD releases, arrives just in time for the anniversary.

Tracks recorded in 1970 in Denmark and Sweden capture the personnel from the Frog gig. The bassist and drummer on the other tracks include Chuck Israels and Larry Bunker (Sweden, '64), Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Alan Dawson (France, '65) and Gomez and Eliot Zigmund (Denmark, '75).

Evans' trios were the antithesis of show biz. Evans, with head bowed, rarely looked up from the keys. Bass and drums were all business, all interplay. Evans was the most romantic of pianists. His harmonies have affected almost every jazz pianist since the late '50s. And if you were lucky enough to have been a teenage jazz fan and first heard him then, your harmonic sensitivity was set for life.

Highlights of the disc include "Detour Ahead" ('65) and "Alfie" and two swinging, technically brilliant versions of "Someday My Prince Will Come" (all from '70). The third group of Jazz Icons also features discs by Sonny Rollins, Cannonball Adderley, Lionel Hampton, Nina Simone, Oscar Peterson and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. -- The News & Observer, Owen Cordle, November 2008

The sound quality is first rate, and the performances are extraordinary. -- Newsweek Magazine

This newly issued DVD provides footage of the late and undeniably influential pianist Bill Evans' performances across Europe, spanning 1964-1975. Including an extensive booklet with photos and reminisces by Evans' daughter Maxine, the program offers a comprehensive documentary of the pianist's various trios, presented in chronological order.

The booklet features a conversation with bassist Chuck Israels (appearing on the 1964 tracks) who discusses Evans' ability to play so wondrously amid his drug addiction while providing other insights about the pianist's sense of organization et al. And Maxine Evans recollects the time when she rode in a limo with her father and Tony Bennett from New York to the Mike Douglas Show in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, there's a wealth of information to accompany the video. With the opening moments of "My Foolish Heart," from a 1964 performance in Sweden, we see the paradigm of Evans' stage persona, where he faces down towards the keyboard via his trance-like enactments.

Alto sax great Lee Konitz sits in with the band for a breezy, mid-tempo swing on "My Melancholy Baby, which is a highlight from Evans' 1965 gig in France. Here, the audience is treated to a flawlessly executed drum solo by Alan Dawson, who employs cross-sticking and other difficult to execute techniques. Of course, the late drummer was a revered clinician. Yet Evans remains the focal point during all of his trio permutations up through the color footage of his 1975 Danish TV set with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund.

Evans' lyrically rich chord voicings and wondrous harmonic movements were engineered upon an ever-present sense of buoyancy and swing, regardless of pitch or tempo. A giant among jazz pianists, his artistry is often imitated, although his impressionable mark of authenticity can never be compromised. The film shows Evans bridging the gap between trad-jazz, bop and modern mainstream while conveying variable stylistic changes along the way. -- JazzReview.com, December 2008

Product Description

This collection includes for the first time on commercial video Bill Evans renditions of the rarely performed or recorded Sareen Jurer, Blue Serge and Twelve Tone Tune Two. Bill Evans performs with four different rhythm sections - all of which are excellent - including the stunning duo of bassist Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Alan Dawson.
Among the many surprises in this collection is a live performance of My Melancholy Baby by Bill Evans and saxophonist Lee Konitz.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(11)
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of Bill Evans footage September 25, 2008
Format:DVD
Just finished watching this dvd and it is a great collection of material spanning 11 years. I'm just a casual jazz fan and not a musician so I cannot make any relevant remarks on the actualy playing but I have been a fan of Bill Evans for a couple years now and thoroughly enjoyed the performances. The first 3 performances are in black and white with the last two performances in color.

Overall, the sound and video are great. The France footage is grainy but doesn't detract from the performance at all. My only gripe would be the Sweden footage. This one is a bit grainy (which doesn't bother me in the slightest) but whoever directed this decided to include random footage clipped into the performance. You'll be watching the trio perform and then you're watching a woman walk down a city sidewalk, back to the trio, then there is a closeup of a aluminum can on a sidewalk, back to the trio, then you're watching out of focus car lights on a street at night, etc.

I would highly recommend this vdvd to any Bill Evans fan or anyone interested in him. Getting to watch five shows from an eleven year span with different trios makes this dvd worth purchasing without any second thought.

Sweden September 29, 1964
1. My Foolish Heart
2. Israel

Chuck Israels (bass) , Larry Bunker (drums)

France 1965
3. Detour Ahead
4. My Melancholy Baby (with Lee Konitz on alto sax)

Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass), Alan Dawson (drums)

Denmark 1970
5. Emily
6. Alfie
7. Someday My Prince Will Come

Eddie Gomez (bass) , Marty Morrell (drums)

Sweden February 20, 1970
8. If You Could See Me Now
9. 'Round Midnight
10. Someday My Prince Will Come
11. Sleepin' Bee
12.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable DVD for jazz pianists November 1, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am on the outer edge of jazz fans and pianists, being now over 70 and with a 65 year experience of playing the piano. I have been playing and analysing Bill's music for over forty of those years. Recently my enthusiasm for practising has fallen off but this DVD has fired me up again. I have all his commercially published CDs, transcriptions and videos but this DVD brings me closer to his magical mastery than anything else. It is really the icing on the cake of my BE collection. In this DVD his sad personal life is mirrored in his playing and in his dress. This DVD gives us some idea of how he must have looked and played on the Vanguard sessions but also hints at the growing aggression of the cocaine-driven later years. As a pianist and a life-long jazz fan he is my hero and this DVD makes me realise that he deserves to be. Nothing can detract from his achievement.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional experience December 16, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If Oscar Peterson is the ultimate jazz keyboardist, then Bill Evans is the ultimate, consumate "audio painter." His choice of harmonies, his keyboard "voicings", his richness of texture set him apart in the world of jazz. This video shows clearly why he is indeed a "jazz icon."

Marc Waszkiewicz
Bremerton, Washington
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Keeper November 2, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Jazz Icons did a wonderful job of putting this Bill Evans retrospective together. These Bill Evans live performances are gems that highlight various periods of Bill's evolution and singular talent, ably accompanied by equally gifted musicians. The audio is remarkable as well. This is a welcome addition to my Bill Evans collection.
Buy it now; you won't regret it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Bill Evans June 24, 2011
Format:DVD
Thank goodness for European television. This is a great collection of Bill Evans over a span of years. The audio is fine, and the video OK - some black and white, some color. Great bass playing also, from Eddie Gomez and also Chuck Israels at his best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evans at his best March 30, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The keyboard giant is captured at his introspective best. There are numbers from Sweden (1964) with Chuck Israels and Larry Bunker; France (1965), Neils-Henning Osted Pedersen and Alan Dawson; Denmark (1970), Eddie Gomez and Marty Morrell; Sweden again (1970), Gomez and Morrell; and then back to Denmark (1975), Gomez and Elliot Zigmund. Sublime "My Foolish Heart," "Re: Person I Knew" ... actually, it's all sublime.
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