- Audio CD (April 7, 1998)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Evidence
- ASIN: B000007OAF
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,288 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Evanessence: Tribute to Bill Evans
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Pianist Fred Hersch can hang one more star in the sky for yet another stunning tribute CD that pays homage to one of jazz's defining voices, pianist Bill Evans. After tribs to Billy Strayhorn (Passion Flower), Rodgers and Hammerstein (Plays Rodgers and Hammerstein) and Thelonious Monk (Thelonious), Hersch has covered it all, from sublime balladry to wobbly bebop to pop hits. Evanessence is completely top-shelf material, more physically engaged and full-force than Evans usually was and yet also completely infatuated with the layers of tonal complexity and harmonic heft that mark the original recordings of these compositions. Even "Nardis/Lonely Woman," which veers from Ornette Coleman to Miles Davis, has Evans's colors all over it. Toots Thielmans plays pliant harmonica on three tunes, and vibraphonist Gary Burton gives three tunes extra harmonic and rhythmic dimensions. Hersch is an undisputed giant, and he plays with a breadth of styles that should ensure unlimited appeal to any jazz fan. --Andrew Bartlett
Recorded in 1990 and released in Japan, this tribute to Evans now comes to America, bringing a program of Bill Evans material, but with his own personal spin by doing things in a different way. Hersch has a track record of staying true to himself and making records that are worth listening to and owning. This is one near the top of the list. -- Jazz Times
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I have followed his career for many years. Look up his bio and see his many works. Also he has a remarkable medical history as well. He was in an AIDS-induced coma and survived. Then after recovery, he wrote down tunes from memory. This performance was recorded on DVD and he had an artist draw some photos from Hersch's descriptions of his visual hallucinations. If you can find it, I highly recommend a 1993 CD on Angel Records entitled RED SQUARE BLUE, Jazz Impressions of Russian Composers.
F. Norman Vickers
Member Jazz Journalists Association
Fred Hersch certainly can play in the manner of Bill Evans without being an imitation of Bill. More importantly, he manages to capture the mood of many of Bill's finest recordings.
Of course, you get tunes associated with Bill: "Turn Out The Stars", "You Must Believe in Spring", "Nardis", "Peri's Scope,", etc. The most non-Bill Evans number on the recording is a clever combination of "Nardis" and "Lonely Woman" that really works. It showcases Fred, not Bill.
Fred's regular trio at the time is featured: Jeff Hirshfield, drums, and Marc Johnson, bass. They are fine, and it should be noted that Marc was the bassist in Bill Evans last trio, which was highly regarded.
Fred has added guest soloist Toots Thielemans on harmonica on 3 numbers. Toots is simply magical in getting the essence of Bill Evans in his contributions. Gary Burton is also added on vibes and likewise adds to the proceedings.
I am not a Fred Hersch fanatic. In fact, I sought out more of Fred's recordings after I enjoyed this recording so much. But none recaptured the magic. So why 5 stars? Because this does have magic.