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  • Portrait In Jazz
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Portrait In Jazz Hybrid SACD

Price: CDN$ 68.95
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Portrait In Jazz + Waltz for Debbie + Sunday At The Village Vanguard
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Riverside
  • ASIN: B0000AZKL7
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,873 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

One of the most innovative and influential pianists in jazz music history, Bill Evans recorded a host of albums that could lay claim to being trail-blazing. Portrait In Jazz is one such album, the first of two studio albums he was to record with his trio (alongside Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian) and a delight from start to finish. Whilst much of the material is comprised of standards, the trio’s interpretations are neither routine nor predictable. Instead, there is constant interplay between the piano and bass, producing a unique outing that is both subtle and creative. --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MikeG on June 9 2004
Format: Audio CD
Portrait in Jazz was the first of only four (official) albums made by what Evans fans know as "the first trio" - the one with Scott La Faro and Paul Motian - which introduced a new approach to the music of a jazz piano trio. Whereas the conventional trio tended to feature the pianist as a 'star soloist' with bass and percussion essentially as 'accompanists' with a fixed and limited role, Evans, La Faro and drummer Paul Motian aimed to develop more of a sense of equal and spontaneous interplay. Scott La Faro was the right man in the right place: his virtuoso technique and strong musical personality enabled him to play the more active, assertive (but compatible) role Evans wanted for the group. By the time this trio played its famous sessions at The Village Vanguard (Live at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby) this 'collective improvisation' was well developed. Portrait in Jazz being the first album by the trio, the roles within the group are sometimes still fairly conventional, with bass and drums functioning as a 'rhythm section' with the pianist spotlighted as 'leader'. However, there's a strong sense of discovery and enthusiasm which, I think, gives the music a greater freshness and vitality than the subsequent albums by this trio and it's those qualities, along with the sensitive, alert musicianship of the trio which makes this one of the most absorbing and enjoyable of Evans's many albums.
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "douglasnegley" on Aug. 27 2003
Format: Audio CD
All of Bill Evans' Riverside recordings are, in my opinion, classics - yes, even the 'alternate takes'. What make the alternate takes valuble to me is the chance to hear the sidemen (Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums) explore different melodies and solos. "Autumn Leaves" is a case in point here. As a musician myself, it is fascinating to hear the subtle differences between the stereo and mono takes and the different ideas by all three players. I must disagree with the previous reviewer who thinks that the "bonus" tracks are invalid both as music and marketing. Originally, when first reissued on a double LP entitled "Spring Leaves" - containing both single LPs "Explorations" recorded in 1961, and "Portrait in Jazz" recorded in 1959 - the "bonus" tracks were simply called "previously unissued", and included both the mono version of "Autumn Leaves" as well as a version of "The Boy Next Door". This was not a marketing ploy, as the double LP was very fairly priced and contained enough material without the added tracks. It was done for historical purposes and cleared by the artist. The stereo equipment had malfunctioned on the one - we will never know whether or not Bill Evans was or was not satisfied with the take, but it is true that Evans was not fully satisfied with "The Boy Next Door" and it was not included in the single LP "Explorations". Later, though, Evans would look back and be less critical, allowing these to be released as part of that Milestone "twofer". He also states plainly in the liner notes that he feels both of these LPs to be some of his best work. I concur. There is not one single track on "Portraits in Jazz" that dips below the highest standard. The near-telepathic communication between Evans and LaFaro has been well documented and is clearly heard on all tracks.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Jazz head on June 12 2001
Format: Audio CD
PORTRAIT IN JAZZ, like all the material recorded by the transcedental trio of Evans/LaFaro/Motian, is timeless and crucial. Scott LaFaro would tragically die in a car accident immediately following the legendary Village Vanguard dates that produced SUNDAY AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD and WALTZ FOR DEBBY, arguably robbing Evans of his single greatest accompanist. Together, these two musicians could propel each other through their playing to reach a point of absolute synergy that forever changed the nature of jazz trio piano. One note of interest for those with exposure to Evans only through KIND OF BLUE - Evan's own performance of BLUE IN GREEN is here, further illustrating how pivotal Evan's role was on that landmark Miles Davis session. EXPLORATIONS is also essential. One note on the Amazon review, though - this was not his 2nd record date as a leader, it was his 3rd. People often overlook his first Riveside album from 1956, NEW JAZZ EXPLORATIONS, but it contains many seeds of what would soon develop under Miles's guidance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 22 1999
Format: Audio CD
The self-contradictory nature ("don't be blind to the critics" vs. "Don't believe all these critics"; "Seems to be a foreign student." vs. the ungrammatical "There are a lot better music.") notwithstanding, the worst thing about the review below from "A Music Fan in WA" is its take on the album in general and Paul Motian (the "He ain't nothing but a sad drummer." mentioned by the author) in particular.
In regards to the album in general: while it may not be the best of Bill Evans on Riverside ("Explorations" and The Village Vanguard discs may collectively hold that title) it is by no means an album to be missed. It represents the first release by this famous trio (Evans, Scott LaFaro, Motian) and contains fine music.
Regarding the comments about Motian (whom our critic doesn't even identify by name), I could, and will, mention that his playing on this album is IMHO an important part of the trio's sound. He is a sensitive and tasteful player who was with Evans for some of his (Evans') finest music. However, rather than offer my opinion to support my argument, I'll simply appeal to authority, namely Evans himself. Evans chose to play with Motian from this album until the end of his time with Riverside (excluding the wonderful "Shelly's Manne-Hole" disc) and to state that Motian "... ain't nothing but a sad drummer." who "...destroyed Evans' music." is to imply that Evans was not an astute enough critic to recognize this destruction and thus maintained an ongoing relationship with a "sad" drummer throughout some of the most important years of his (Evans') career.
But enough said about our friend from WA. This disc has much to recommend it (as does any of Evans' work on Riverside): tasteful playing, great song selection, wonderful interplay, a taste of things to come (with the trio).
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