Bill Evans Trio: The Legendary Bill Evans Trio – él Records

It’s easy to talk Jazz. That free flow of emotion dancing across the keys, the particular notes struck with quiet intensity by the bass player, the timely accentuating shuffle of drums speak of life in times past and present like no other language. As you listen to Bill Evans play the piano time flies like the sound of yesterday. Like tomorrow is yet to happen. Committing some of the finest music (and that’s period) to vinyl the Trio’s output is neatly captured here on this latest release from the excellent él Records.

You can hear the echo of Bill Evans all over Miles Davis, Kind of Blue as his signature motif embarked on the journey that led to this unparalleled collection of five albums including, for me, the masterful Sunday Night At The Village Vanguard recorded in 1961. Featuring the exquisite bass playing of Scott LaFaro alongside drummer Paul Motion there is both an intensity and lyricism in the playing that is unparalleled to some degree. You can feel minds ticking anticipating the next notes to be executed but always in tight synchronicity as sounds collide elevating rhythm, mood and the expression of what it is to be human. It’s a brilliant live recording that captures every brush, pulse and run on the strings as if, only you had been there. When you think of what was happening elsewhere in popular music Jazz then seems all the more rebellious like the untold story. No wonder the Beats where inspired by the very sound of it all.

Release: May 6


I’d Love To Turn You On – Classical and Avant-Garde Music That Inspired The Counter-Culture – él Records

A beautifully realised collection music that sees worlds collude in the interplay between sound, revolution and flying colours. Sometime in the 1960’s artists such as The Beatles took note of what was happening in the counter-cultural stream of consciousness populated by the Avant Garde. They, of course, had been tinkering at the edges of what music could be for some time but the influence provided helped shape the next generation of popular albums by expanding what the simple structure of song could be evolving from the basic refrain of I love You, plus by taking the accompanying scale of rock n roll chords to new heights.

Quite naturally Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage are ever present, as is Bernard Herrmann whose score for Hitchcock’s Pyscho remains a keynote moment in cinematic history, alongside the unmistakable Ravi Shankar and Jacques Brel. Jazz giants Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and the Bill Evans Trio, who neatly supply Autumn Leaves, also appear as do a wealth of classical composers from the wonderful Claude Debussy through to Bach. But in many ways it’s the sheer thrill of hearing pieces like Luciano Berio’s Thema (Omaggio A Joyce) with its rugged deconstruction of sound and voice that proves to be the most exciting, certainly dangerous, in ways Rhythm and Blues never was. Followed by Cage’s brutal Williams Mix which sees the clash of quarter-inch magnetic tapes create their own universe this is just about as provocative as it gets. Three CD’s span the concept, each delving into different arenas, each worth their weight in gold. From radical fire to the more traditional, there is quite literally something for everyone to treasure here.

Release: February 21