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Universal Mind of Bill Evans

6 customer reviews

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(Jan 09, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

NTSC/PAL (2 sided) Region 0. Subtitled - Jazz Pianist on the Creative Process & Self-Teaching. Here is the late, brilliantly original jazz pianist in intense conversation with his composer brother, Harry, on the nature of creativity in jazz. Occasionally, they stroll to the piano for a musical illustration (Evans play splendidly). A Bruce Ricker production - released by Efor Films. 60 mins. B&W. Hi-Fi Stereo.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Color, Import, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rhapsody Films
  • DVD Release Date: January 9, 2001
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002475P2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,274 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Chell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the most articulate, insightful Bill Evans I've heard or seen. One provocative example: near the beginning of the presentation, before Steve Allen's introduction, Bill challenges the notion that musicians are better music critics than the layman--a necessarily controversial statement that, upon examination, reveals the depth and hard-won wisdom behind the speaker's carefully thought-out, meticulously worded remarks: "I do not agree that the layman's opinion is less of a valid judgment of the music than the professional musician. In fact, I would often rely more on the judgment of a sensitive layman than that of a professional since the professional, because of his constant involvement with the 'mechanics' of music, must 'fight' to preserve the 'naiveté' that the layman already possesses." [Single quote marks = this writer's equivalent of italics for the words Bill emphasizes.]

This statement alone led to a personal revelation by this reviewer, who is a teacher frequently confronted with a classroom of inner-city freshmen who manifest little interest in higher education let alone joining me in tackling, line by line, a difficult, arcane, thoroughly ironic work by a 17th century British poet. Notwithstanding Bill's qualifier--"sensitive"--there lies deep within those students a "universal" desire, almost a "hunger," for knowledge.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brian Whistler VINE VOICE on June 21, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Right off the bat I have to say that this is a peculiar video. The body of this DVD is a conversation between Bill and his brother Harry that touches upon Bill's musical philosophy. The conversation meanders, touching upon the subject of music education and finding inspiration and creativity through connecting with what Evans refers to as "The Universal Mind". It is interesting to find Evans' ideas so in line with Jung's concept of the Collective Unconscious, but then, Bill had a highly developed intellect and was obviously a well rounded individual, judging from his articulate and almost professorial presentation of his ideas.

During the video, Evans occasionally makes his way to the piano at his brother's bequest to demonstrate some of his ideas, but this is not anything approaching a performance. Each segment of this free ranging conversation is preceded by a somewhat glib introduction by Steve Allen. As much as I admire Mr Allen I found his explanations to be tedious and sophmoric and skipped them the next time I viewed the DVD with a fellow Evans enthusiast.

To sum it up, there is not enough playing on this disc to warrant the label of "music video". As such it will appeal mostly to hardcore Evans afficionados who are curious to experience the man. Having finally acquired a copy of this long lost video, I can say I wish I had just rented it through Netflix. It is not something I am inclined to revisit, except perhaps to share it with another Evans fan. In short, fascinating but not essential viewing. I would recommend the Oslo concerts first. A great pairing of compelling performances and an interesting bonus interview at the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JMorganfield on November 9, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a must have if you are into music improvisation. Explains the jazz process vs. jazz the style. Talks about how composers aim to make music that feels like if it was improvised and hence why improvising is the best way to go about accomplishing this. It recounts Bill Evans development and how he came to be what he became. Also, talks about the Universal Musical Mind and what is real and what is not when it comes to music. These different concepts are hard to explain and I don't do a very good job at trying to write what it is about; as the only way to do it is through good music, but this film does a great job. Two words, absolutely phenomenal. Expensive and short piece(about 45 minutes) of film but well worth it.
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