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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 35 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 86 reviews
on August 15, 2016
Many (many) years ago I saw Bill Evans on TV (Ed Sullivan?). My head was into the pop/rock thing at the time so I couldn't quite grasp what was going on but I knew it was something important. This guy was way out there somewhere. Well, somehow over the years, it stuck with me and, as I'm starting to grow weary of rock, I figured to visit the artists who pioneered Jazz. Evans was high on the list.

This is some amazing music.His phrasing, chording, sense of melody are nearly singular. It's him, drums and bass and all three get to do their thing during the performance. Evans always sets up the song but, now and then, sits back and lets his two sidemen off the leash. Neither disappoints. One thing I really came to appreciate was that I was listening to acoustic instruments so everything is in the note. No multi-textural sounds to dress things up. This is music in it's purist form.

There are those schooled in music that cold say more than I can about his structuring and other aspects of his playing. All I know is that when I listen to this I am amazed at how the human mind can work to make sense of something so contrary to the age old approach to melody making. I wonder if someone were to resurrect someone like Mozart and play Bill Evans for him, would he "get it" or would it merely sound like so much noise to him?
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on January 22, 2016
Excellent music by Bill Evans Trio, but be warned if you're buying the vinyl version. The sound is quite decent; but the track listing on Amazon shows ten tracks. On the vinyl version of this there are six songs plus one alternate version. At the price, I kept this title, rather than return it. Here are the actual tracks you will receive on the Wax Time vinyl of this title:
1. Gloria's Step
2. My Man's Gone Now
3. Solar
4. Alice in Wonderland
5. All Of You
6. Jade Visions
7. Jade Visions (alt take) *

*Bonus Track
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on October 29, 2011
This remarkable recording is exceptional in that the musical contributions from Evans, LaFaro (bass) and Montian (drums) blend elegantly amd seamlessly. However, there is still room to appreciate each man's instrument and style on it's own. Very rarely in studio, much less live recordings, is there such harmony from track-to-track yet distinctive music from each member. Having said this, it is LaFaro's bass that stands out especially in "Gloria's Step" (take 2) and "Alice in Wonderland" (take one). His presence and the bass influence is unmistable in every track. I don't know if we can attribute this to the performance or mastering of the recording, maybe both! Of course, LaFaro's play lends even greater intrigue as the album is forever linked to his untimely death days later. Whatever, just when you think you've heard one of the greatest bass players in jazz your blown away by a solo like that in "All Of You" (take 2). You then transition back into the give-and-take of this amazing trio with out competition but rather a unique naturalness. This is simply one of the greatest releases in the history of post World War II jazz.
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on February 4, 2013
When you discover the Bill Evans trio for the first time, it is a moment to relish. When you've had a satisfactory day, or a unpleasant one, Bill Evans is there, either easing you into the next or calming you down. Bill Evans, is the type of artist that makes the world a tolerable place. Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian created a unique chemistry that can be heard in the beginning of, "My Man's Gone Now," with each of them showcasing their talents. George Gershwin wrote the song for, "Porgy & Bess." The mourning in the original aria of a woman whose husband was murdered is carried to its full emotional intensity by the Bill Evans trio. Scott LaFaro's bass is used as singular voice with Bill Evans as a counterpoint. A memorable interpretation. That is one example of many about the power of this recording. This recording, along with, "Waltz for Debby," is a must have not just for your record collection, but for your life.
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Bill, as always, is awesome. The quality of the vinyl, unfortunately, is bad. Vinyl arrived warped, ruining the quality and the tonearm bobbing up and down.
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on May 2, 2012
I just downloaded this album from Amazon. When making my selection I spent some time trying to determine the difference between "At the Village Vanguard" and "Sunday at the Village Vanguard". It turns out that this album ("At the Village Vanguard") is a compilation released much later by Riverside containing 10 of the 13 tunes from "Sunday at the Village V." and "Waltz for Debby", but without all of the alternate takes. For me it is the perfect choice of a good selection from this historic recording session. Amazon, please make it clear that this album is a compilation; most of your reviews pertain to a different album.
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on October 24, 2009
There was some kind of Creative Harmonic Convergence that Jazz was the recipient of during the brief time The Bill Evans Trio,(Bill Evans (Piano), Scott LaFaro (Bass), Paul Motian (Drums), played together. To listen to SUNDAY AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD is to become aware of a chemistry, a creative fire present in this trio. A fire that is timeless. The music on this c.d. sounds as fresh and exciting today as the moment it was expressed through these three musical artists. Sometimes I wonder how Scott LaFaro might have evolved musically. There is no doubt of his consummate gifts as a bassist. He seems to me to be exploding with musical expression. Wonder if he had the chance to develop further whether there might have come into his playing less busyness, more economy, silence. Somehow Bill Evans had that quality from the very beginning. I've never had a pianist affect me the way Bill Evans always has. Especially the ballads. This album is mostly up tempo, and yet I love it for the same reason I do the ballads. It seems to me that Bill Evans played from his heart and soul, and that he penetrated into such a depth in the region of his own being, that his own heart and soul becomes the heart and soul of the listener, in this instance - mine, too. Paul Motian's exquisite, understated and refined playing was the perfect support and complement for the trio. This is the trio against which all others have been and will continue to be measured. To listen to this album is to be touched by PERFECTION.
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on April 3, 2017
Not his best, but enjoyable.
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on May 25, 2017
One of the great jazz artists of all time. Great album.
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on June 16, 2003
There are cases where other reviewers have already nailed it, but I just have to chime in anyway. This is such a case: the sublime explorations of rhythm and melody that are the Bill Evans Trio's June 25, 1961 Village Vanguard performances.
It should perhaps be stated at the outset that any of these remarks also apply to the album _Waltz for Debby_, which consists of takes culled from the same live sessions as _Sunday at the Village Vanguard_. Definitely get that one concurrently with this. It makes no sense to not have both.
For me, probably the greatest pleasure in this music is listening to Scott LaFaro's bass playing (maybe that's because I'm a bass player, I don't know). The mix has him more or less front and center, even in front of Bill's piano, and Scott's playing is inspired and deserves such treatment. Most people first mention his virtuosic high-speed upper-register runs, but there's also his sonorous double-stops and strummed chords, and just listening to him hold down a single whole note is wonderful. But he never pulls away and "steals the show" overtly, because everything he plays is so rooted in interaction and response with Bill's piano. Listening to LaFaro's strength, sensitivity, and total command of his instrument is just a total joy to behold.
Evans' playing, too, was never better, I think, than on these recordings. His uncanny knack of extracting the essence of tunes and laying down "definitive" versions of them is in full effect here. Paul Motian's drumming seems quite in the background; I hardly ever notice him. In the quiet tunes, for instance, he mostly seems to work the cymbals with brushes to create atmosphere. All in all, he plays an effective supporting role.
My personal favorite moments on these albums are the contemplative, haunting masterworks that are the trilogy of quieter songs: "My Foolish Heart", "I Loves You, Porgy" (which are from _Waltz for Debby_ ) and "My Man's Gone Now", plus Scott LaFaro's "Jade Visions." I'd almost regard it as something like blasphemy for any other group to play that song. It's just so untouchable, and elegiac; as though Scott wrote his own eulogy without knowing it (he was killed in a car accident ten days after these recordings were made). And the "simultaneous improvisation" (I think some critic cooked up that phrase) this group achieves is really special. It's at a level that was never achieved on this trio's two prior studio LPs, _Portrait in Jazz_ and _Explorations_. Obviously, the spirit was just right on June 26, 1961 at the Vanguard, and these three wonderful musicians play brilliantly as an inspired unit. "Solar" is a prime example of this: listen to how the solos run; you can hardly tell at any given moment who's soloing and who's comping.
For most jazz albums, the "alternate takes" you get on the CD releases seem kinda "pesky" to me; I could easily stick with just the master takes without any distractions. But in this case, I'm quite grateful for the alternate takes that round out these discs. It just means even more unique moments of special music by this wonderful trio. I dislike cliches as much as anyone, but hey, desert island discs, for sure, these two. Don't miss out.
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