Evans, Bill Trio: Sunday At The Village Vanguard (Original Jazz Classics) LP
One of the most influential artists in the history of jazz, Bill Evans was known for his conversational interplay within his trios, his lyrical compositions and his matchless approach to the piano. In 1959, after a year with Miles Davis' sextet, Evans embarked on a new chapter with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian – a unit that would redefine the notion of the piano trio. Over the next two years, the group recorded four foundational titles together, beginning with Portrait in Jazz and Explorations. Their final two albums, 1961's Sunday at the Village Vanguard and 1962's Waltz for Debby were both captured live on June 25, 1961, at New York City's legendary Village Vanguard club. Tragically, that would be the last time that the trio would play together, as LaFaro was killed in a car accident days later.
Sunday at the Village Vanguard was intended to be a tribute to LaFaro's talents – bookended by two of the bassist's compositions ("Gloria's Step" and "Jade Visions") and showcasing his best solos from that summer day. What resulted is arguably one of the greatest live jazz recordings of all time. The trio's exquisite unity is on display throughout the album, which also includes several crowd-pleasing standards (Cole Porter's "All of You, " George Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now" and Sammy Fain's theme to Alice in Wonderland) plus a rendition of Miles Davis' "Solar."