It’s hard to believe, but the highly acclaimed, classically trained Bill Evans had to wait until February 1966 before he could give a concert in New York. The city’s Town Hall proffered an auspicious venue for the Trio after performing in clubs with their frequently bad conditions. Bill Evans also presents himself as a soloist, playing his own composition, which is dedicated to his father. The number is Ravel-like at the beginning, has two jazz improvisations in the middle section, and an almost epic finale – a construction he liked to employ not only in many of his works but also in his interpretation of standard numbers.
The 1500-strong audience at the concert is remarkably hushed, and this is highly beneficial for the pensive, intuitive style of the pianist, for now he can concentrate on making contact with the bass-player Chuck Israels and the percussionist Arnold Wise. It is obvious that both artists feel at home with Bill Evans’s concept of equal status, which he continued to develop ever since the formation of his first Trio in 1958.
The four standards are mostly in a moderate tempo and do not feature many changes of mood. You have to listen very carefully to the harmonic sequences and interplay if you want to discover the beauty of the improvisations and the shimmering impressionism of the Trio’s style. But it is certainly worth one’s while! This pearl in the creative life of the musician Bill Evans and his Piano Trio is a real milestone recording; the re-release spans an arc to the living pianists of today.