Evans, Bill Trio: Waltz For Debby (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 band's uncanny interplay continues in Waltz for Debby – an album held in equally high regard by generations of scholars. Picking up where Sunday at the Village Vanguard left off, this album features additional highlights from the band's memorable appearance (five sets spread over the afternoon and evening). Aside from the title track (a standard by Evans, written for his niece in the mid-'50s), Waltz for Debby is comprised entirely of popular material, including Victor Young's "My Foolish Heart, " Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" and Miles Davis' "Milestones."