This release presents, in chronological order, all surviving complete performances from the legendary 1961 Village Vanguard sets by the Bill Evans Trio. Two classic albums were culled from these sets: "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" and "Waltz for Debby". It would be the last recording by this formation of the group, with Scott LaFaro on bass, and Paul Motian on drums, as LaFaro died ten days later in a car crash, on July 6, 1961, at the age of 25. Evans, who loved LaFaros playing, would take a long hiatus before forming a new trio.
01. Alice In Wonderland [Alt. take] 7:05
02. My Foolish Heart 4:58
03. All Of You [Alt. take #1] 8:14
04. My Romance 7:09
05. Some Other Time 4:57
06. Solar 8:48
07. Glorias Step 6:06
08. My Mans Gone Now 6:21
09. All Of You 8:32
10. Detour Ahead [Alt. take] 7:17
11. Conversation 0:30
12. Waltz For Debby [Alt. take] 6:49
Total time: 76:49 min.
01. Alice In Wonderland 8:32
02. I Loves You Porgy 6:10
03. My Romance [Alt. take] 7:26
04. Milestones 6:33
05. Detour Ahead 7:40
06. Glorias Step [Alt. take] 7:00
07. Waltz For Debby 6:57
08. All Of You [Alt. take #2] 8:17
09. Jade Visions [Alt. take] 4:10
10. Jade Visions 4:06
11. A Few Final Bars 1:16
Total time: 68:12 min.
CD 1, tracks #6,7,8,9 & CD 2, tracks #1,10 from
"Sunday at the Village Vanguard" (Riverside RLP976)
CD 1, tracks #2,4,5,12 & CD 2, tracks #4,5 from
"Waltz for Debby" (Riverside RLP999)
All alternate take are bonus tracks not on the original albums
Personnel in all tracks:
Bill Evans (piano), Scott LaFaro (bass), and Paul Motian (drums).
Recorded live at the Village Vanguard Club, in New York, on June 25, 1961
Session produced by Orrin Keepnews
Recording engineer: Dave Jones
Original cover designs: Ken Deardoff
"The repertoire is a mix of standards and jazz originals; the interpretations are the products of the creative thoughts of three masters of their art."
Hugh Ledigo -The Jazz Rag
"Every self-respecting jazz library needs this music."
Fred Grand -Jazz Journal
-Sunday at the Village Vanguard
"Sunday at the Village Vanguard is the initial volume of a mammoth recording session by the Bill Evans Trio, from June 25, 1961 at New York's Village Vanguard documenting Evans' first trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Its companion volume is Waltz for Debby. This trio is still widely regarded as his finest, largely because of the symbiotic interplay between its members. Tragically, LaFaro was killed in an automobile accident ten days after this session was recorded, and Evans assembled the two packages a few months afterward. While "Waltz for Debby" -- in retrospect -- is seemingly a showcase for Evans' brilliant, subtle, and wide-ranging pianism, this volume becomes an homage, largely, to the genius and contribution of LaFaro. That said, however, this were never the point. According to Motian, when Evans built this trio based on live gigs at the Basin Street East, the intention was always to develop a complete interactive trio experience. At the time, this was an unheard of notion, since piano trios were largely designed to showcase the prowess of the front line soloist with rhythmic accompaniment. Here, one need listen no further than the elegant and haunting, graceful modal reading of "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy & Bess to know that there is something completely balanced and indescribably beautiful in their approach. Motian's brushes whisper along the ride cymbals and both Evans and LaFaro enter into a dialogue that emerges from a darkly hued minor mode, into the melody and somehow beyond it, into a form of seamless dialogic improvisation to know that in the act of one musician slipping over and under another -- as happens with all three in an aural basket weave -- is something utterly new and different, often imitated but never replicated. But in a sense it happens before this, on LaFaro's "Gloria's Step," which opens the recording. His thematic statement includes the briefest intro, hesitant and spacious before he and pianist enter into a harmonic and contrapuntal conversation underscored by the hushed dynamics of Motian's snare, and the lightning-fast interlocutions of single string and chorded playing of LaFaro. The shapshifting reading of Miles Davis' "Solar," is a place where angularity, counterpoint, and early modalism all come together in a knotty and insistent, yet utterly seamless blend of post-bop aesthetics and expanded harmonic intercourse with Motian, whose work, while indispensable in the balance of the trio, comes more into play here, and is more assertive with his half-time accents to frame the counterpoint playing of Evans and LaFaro. This is a great place to begin with Evans."
-Waltz for Debby
"Recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1961, shortly before Scott LaFaro's death, Waltz for Debby is the second album issued from that historic session, and the final one from that legendary trio that also contained drummer Paul Motian. While the Sunday at the Village Vanguard album focused on material where LaFaro soloed prominently, this is far more a portrait of the trio on those dates. Evans chose the material here, and, possibly, in some unconscious way, revealed on these sessions -- and the two following LaFaro's death (Moonbeams and How My Heart Sings!) -- a different side of his musical personality that had never been displayed on his earlier solo recordings or during his tenures with Miles Davis and George Russell: Evans was an intensely romantic player, flagrantly emotional, and that is revealed here in spades on tunes such as "My Foolish Heart" and "Detour Ahead." There is a kind of impressionistic construction to his harmonic architecture that plays off the middle registers and goes deeper into its sonances in order to set into motion numerous melodic fragments simultaneously. The rhythmic intensity that he displayed as a sideman is evident here in "Milestones," with its muscular shifting time signature and those large, flatted ninths with the right hand. The trio's most impressive interplay is in "My Romance," after Evans' opening moments introducing the changes. Here Motian's brushwork is delicate, flighty and elegant, and LaFaro controls the dynamic of the tune with his light as a feather pizzicato work and makes Evans' deeply emotional statements swing effortlessly. Of the many recordings Evans issued, the two Vanguard dates and Explorations are the ultimate expressions of his legendary trio."
Both by Thom Jurek -All Music Guide