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Live at Art D'Lugoff's Top of The Gate [2 CD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

*A newly unearthed discovery of Bill Evans, recorded in Greenwich Village
on October 23, 1968, includes two complete, never before released concerts!*

Deluxe two-CD Digipak
Contains 28-page booklet with essays by Nat Hentoff, Gary Burton, Eddie
Gomez, Marty Morell, George Klabin & Art D Lugoff s son, Raphael D Lugoff.
Includes iconic photos by Tom Copi, Jan Persson, Raymond Ross, Fred Seligo,
and Herb Snitzer. Interesting historical documents includes contracts,
postcards, family photos, and more.

All previously unheard performances. The only Evans recording released from
The Village Gate! Digitally remastered from the original tapes; recorded
and mixed live, providing stellar sound & clarity. Features rare tracks (in
some cases recorded live with the Bill Evans trio for the very first time).

*Featured Artists*
Bill Evans: piano
Eddie Gomez: bass
Marty Morell: drums
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 7, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Resonance Records
  • ASIN: B007PNS4TY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,937 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Carraher on June 13, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Historic Performances Captured More Than 40 Years Ago

Art D'Lugoff opened The Village Gate in 1958 with the idea of seeking out the the hottest talent, hosting prominent jazz artists, including Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, and Miles Davis, as well as the best in comedy, including Bill Cosby, Mort Sahl, Woody Allen, and John Belushi. he turned away Bob Dylan, but gave him practice space in the basement. He fired a young Dustin Hoffman for providing poor table service. Playwright Sam Shepard once bused tables. For the next 3 and a half decades `The Gate' was a Jazz Mecca. If you got invited to play The Gate, you were somebody, or you were going to be somebody.

A few years after opening The Gate, and building on the success of the venue, he opened up a club upstairs, The Top Of The Gate. On a cool fall night in 1968, D'Lugoff had managed to book the great Thelonious Monk Quartet and The Charles Lloyd Quartet in The Village Gate. Upstairs, there was only one piano player that could top the legendary Thelonious Monk and that was Bill Evans. And on this same night Evans brought with him one of jazz's greatest ever trios, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell.

In the audience that night was a 22 year old George Klabin who was invited to come down to the club and record 2 sets of the trio. This wasn't all that unheard of, a jazz lover being allowed to record live sets in clubs and as I have dozens of records to attest, it was usually disappointing at best and even disastrous on occasion.

I have dozens of "long lost live sets", that sound like they were recorded by a microphone hidden in a trash can at the back of the room. I have terrible recordings of all the greats; Dizzy, Parker, Monk, and even Miles.
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When I read about this "new" recording in the Wall Street journal about a week before it was released, I knew I had to have it. I pre-ordered it on this reviewer statement alone: "This is comparable to The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 recordings". Well, VV is one of my favorite jazz recordings of all time and it didn't seem possible it could be duplicated, but I felt that even if Top of the Gate would only come close, it would still be a "must have" recording. I have to agree that this is comparable to, but not as good as, the VV recordings. That's because by any standard, this is an incredible assembly of great songs of one of the greatest jazz pianists ever on a remarkably clean and efficient recording. What makes it unlike the VV recordings is that it seems to be forced. The bass lines of Eddie Gomez are steady and strong, but they lack the "floatiness" and musicality that Scott LaFaro added to Evans' earlier trio. Likewise with the drums, Marty Morrell does an admirable job of supporting and pushing, sometimes even masterfully driving the music, but he lacks the flow and inventiveness of Paul Motian. Don't get me wrong: this is a great, great recording, and it does have a lot going for it. First of all, I got to hear Bill Evans play a number of songs I'd never heard him play before, including `Round Midnight, My Funny Valentine, and In a Sentimental Mood (one of the most rushed songs on this set). Second, I got to hear him play a number of familiar renditions in a far different, broader, I'll even say experimental manner, such as Witchcraft and Autumn Leaves.Read more ›
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This handsomely packaged two-disc set of a typical mid-career Bill Evans trio date from October of 1968 is, among other things, a reminder of a "musical calling" that has long since vanished. When the big bands folded by the hundreds in the mid to late forties, it would be no more than 15 years before the same economic forces and cultural shifts spelled a similar fate for smaller jazz ensembles. Only the most determined, dogged musicians with work ethics equal to their passion for playing continued to perform as viable, intact working units--modern-day itinerant troubadours like Sonny Stitt (jazz' "Lone Wolf"); the redoubtable (and tough) Art Blakey; and pianists willing to take their chances with small or indifferent audiences, marginal accommodations and inferior "house" instruments in exchange for maintaining a unique group chemistry or for the opportunity to continue their quest for an elusive but ever-nearer beauty.

Blll Evans had, in some respects, more in common with Sonny and Blakey than with a Keith Jarrett who, after the success of "The Kohn Concert," was in a position to select his moments, his instrument, his producers and labels with deliberative, fastidious care. That a Sonny Stitt or a Bill Evans could play so well for so many years should come as a greater surprise than the disappointments that frequently appear in the recorded, prolific (albeit scattered and uneven) discographies of either musician.

If there was ever a hard-working artist who deserved the best production values--in terms of not just audio technology but the considered respect of his peers--it's Bill Evans, arguably the most influential pianist after Bud Powell and, along with seminal giants like John Coltrane, on the short list of most important "musicians"--period.
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