Part of its appeal is also the excellent choice of material, but much of the interest lies in what Evans in particular does with it. Often this is mainly a matter of the unusual chord voicings and adjustments of rhythm and phrasing he gives to a familiar tune, which open up wider harmonic and rhythmic perspectives for improvising.Read more ›
In the case of this version of "Portrait in Jazz", however, the liner notes at least attempt to explain what the alternate takes are doing here. In my opinion, though, its arguments are invalid:
1) The extra "Blue in Green" is included, allegedly, because the producer didn't understand why Bill Evans failed to choose it. As far as I'm concerned, all that matters is that he didn't; Bill Evans is the artist; this is Bill Evans's choice to make.
2) The extra "Autumn Leaves" is included, allegedly, because the preferred take (which is the one incongruously listed as a "bonus track" here, oddly enough) was recorded in mono. Guess what? Stereo recording is not NECESSARILY an improvement over mono recording, not any more so than oil painting is necessarily an improvement over watercolor. Stereo and mono are merely different media: If a piece is intentionally and artfully recorded in mono, then it is worth hearing in mono.
If you feel nevertheless absolutely compelled to give us "bonus tracks", please put them all at the beginning of the CD. That way I can just punch on my remote the first track number after them and not have to fuss.
His interpretations of standards are superb, always (like Ella Fitzgerald)... Read more