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Way Out in the Stratosphere
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?