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Portrait In Jazz [LP]

4.6 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (September 16, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics
  • Run Time: 33.00 minutes
  • ASIN: B005QBMZBA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,623 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I've had the original CD release of this classic 1959 Bill Evans trio session but when Orrin Keepnews re-released this with some discovered bonus takes, I had to purchase this disc. If you want an introduction to one of the greatest jazz trios of all time--you can't go wrong on this disc! Evans with co-horts, the late bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian revoluntionized the trio format by performing as colloborators rather than the usual concept of piano supported then by bass and drums--everyone had in voice of their own!! This actually was nothing new in jazz since Duke Ellington had duets with Jimmy Blanton and Bud Powell had some runnings with bassist George Duvivier but Evans pushed this to a higher level with his interactions with LaFaro and Motian. The 24 bit processing also creates a veil of space and airness to a normally dry recording. I've never really liked the way Riverside recorded Bill's piano after hearing him in person but at least this newly remastered recording is a step forward. Definitely recommended for fans of jazz piano and trios!!
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The Bill Evans Trio with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian is arguably the greatest jazz three-piece of all time. Unfortunately, Scott LaFaro's tragic death left only a handful of recordings to cherish. Recently, we have been lucky enough to get a few more morsels to savour -- an eye-opening extra take of "Gloria's Step" on the recently remastered The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961, and even the historical document (the sound is too poor to call it an "album"), The 1960 Birdland Sessions. When I recently discovered that the remastered "Keepnews Collection" edition of "Portrait in Jazz" contained two additional bonus tracks -- an alternate take of "Come Rain or Come Shine" and a first take of "Blue in Green" -- not featured on the original OJC issue, I simply had to replace my disc. The telepathic musical communication so easily achieved at the Vanguard is just beginning to form here, but the alternates are a wonderful way to witness its development. With the 50th anniversary of this album approaching on December 28th, enjoy this expanded "Portrait" of legendary jazz.
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Format: Audio CD
Portrait in Jazz was the first of only four (official) albums made by what Evans fans know as "the first trio" - the one with Scott La Faro and Paul Motian - which introduced a new approach to the music of a jazz piano trio. Whereas the conventional trio tended to feature the pianist as a 'star soloist' with bass and percussion essentially as 'accompanists' with a fixed and limited role, Evans, La Faro and drummer Paul Motian aimed to develop more of a sense of equal and spontaneous interplay. Scott La Faro was the right man in the right place: his virtuoso technique and strong musical personality enabled him to play the more active, assertive (but compatible) role Evans wanted for the group. By the time this trio played its famous sessions at The Village Vanguard (Live at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby) this 'collective improvisation' was well developed. Portrait in Jazz being the first album by the trio, the roles within the group are sometimes still fairly conventional, with bass and drums functioning as a `rhythm section' with the pianist spotlighted as `leader'. However, there's a strong sense of discovery and enthusiasm which, I think, gives the music a greater freshness and vitality than the subsequent albums by this trio and it's those qualities, along with the sensitive, alert musicianship of the trio which makes this one of the most absorbing and enjoyable of Evans's many albums.
Part of its appeal is also the excellent choice of material, but much of the interest lies in what Evans in particular does with it. Often this is mainly a matter of the unusual chord voicings and adjustments of rhythm and phrasing he gives to a familiar tune, which open up wider harmonic and rhythmic perspectives for improvising.
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Format: Audio CD
All of Bill Evans' Riverside recordings are, in my opinion, classics - yes, even the 'alternate takes'. What make the alternate takes valuble to me is the chance to hear the sidemen (Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums) explore different melodies and solos. "Autumn Leaves" is a case in point here. As a musician myself, it is fascinating to hear the subtle differences between the stereo and mono takes and the different ideas by all three players. I must disagree with the previous reviewer who thinks that the "bonus" tracks are invalid both as music and marketing. Originally, when first reissued on a double LP entitled "Spring Leaves" - containing both single LPs "Explorations" recorded in 1961, and "Portrait in Jazz" recorded in 1959 - the "bonus" tracks were simply called "previously unissued", and included both the mono version of "Autumn Leaves" as well as a version of "The Boy Next Door". This was not a marketing ploy, as the double LP was very fairly priced and contained enough material without the added tracks. It was done for historical purposes and cleared by the artist. The stereo equipment had malfunctioned on the one - we will never know whether or not Bill Evans was or was not satisfied with the take, but it is true that Evans was not fully satisfied with "The Boy Next Door" and it was not included in the single LP "Explorations". Later, though, Evans would look back and be less critical, allowing these to be released as part of that Milestone "twofer". He also states plainly in the liner notes that he feels both of these LPs to be some of his best work. I concur. There is not one single track on "Portraits in Jazz" that dips below the highest standard. The near-telepathic communication between Evans and LaFaro has been well documented and is clearly heard on all tracks.Read more ›
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Portrait In Jazz [LP]
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