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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

A moving account

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

Excellent article - thank you.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

I was fortunate to have been Bill's mixing engineer late in his career (also Co-Produced the second Bill, Evans/Tony Bennett record). To say he was a giant is an understatement, and a gentle giant at that. For me recording him was like going to church. There was literally something transcendental about it. Thanks for the reminder Ted - I miss him.

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Thanks for sharing this comment. By the way, I heard a live broadcast of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans on KJAZ at some point in the late 1970s—it was part of a benefit concert to raise money for the station, and a bunch of famous musicians participated. Herbie Hancock was also on the bill. KJAZ broadcast the benefit live on the radio—I wish someone could track down those tapes. My vivid recollection is that the whole concert was outstanding, and it was a rare occasion when Bill Evans and Tony Bennett performed duets in front of a live audience. I taped some of it on cassette from the radio, but I lost the tape years ago.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

If you find these puleeeze let us know!

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of that performance Ted. I'll make some inquiries. I assume you've seen this taping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LIW7q_cFeA. It was for the CBC in Vancouver. Helen Keane asked me to be her eyes and ears there. I had a great time there with the two of them. They had a genuine affection for each other. Some great stories and memories.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

The late Bud Spangler, working for KJAZ at that time mixed the live Broadcast and the recordings, I believe were given to the station for their archives. I'm not sure what happened to them when KJAZ folded and much of the staff, and the record library, wound up at KCSM.

Unfortunately the best persons I could have asked about this, Bud and Orrin Keepnews, are both gone. But I'll see if I can find out anything about what happened to the tapes.

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Bud Spangler was a dear friend, and was actually drummer in my band for a while. He would have done a very good job of recording that KJAZ benefit concert. I hope those tapes resurface at some point. Some old recording of Mingus, also made by Spangler, recently were released—so these things often do show up, even decades after the fact.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

Bud's Recording of the KJAZ broadcast of the Pat Metheny Group's first GAMH show was good enough that Warner Brothers, then ECM Records USA distributor used three songs from it on a promotional LP to send out to radio stations in advance of the impending release of their first album.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

Thank you Ted. Wonderful tribute.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

Saw Evans at the University of Minnesota in ‘79. Years later I had the opportunity to attend a Joe Laberba workshop. I mentioned hearing that concert. Didn’t have any idea of the back story.

Bill Evans was one of the shining moments of my late 60’s youth. To hear him live was transcendental. To understand his story. . .

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Thank you, Ted, for this most moving article. Bill is my musical hero. He died the year I was born, so it was never possible for me to see him live. I'm grateful for all the records, the videos, and the accounts from those who knew or saw him.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

Thanks for this piece about Bill Evans. A discographical note: Much of the music from those Keystone Korner gigs came out on two 8 CD sets: The Last Waltz and Consacration (both on Milestone Records).

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There are quite a few Evans fans who converse on the Steve Hoffman forum and elsewhere who think those Keystone recordings are the apex of Evans' career. I appreciate the last trio, though I don't think I'll ever come around to placing it above his 1960s trios.

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Thats a fair comment for sure. They are right up there for me. Only slightly behind the Paris Concert 79 and the 2 Solo Sessions recordings, and of course Village Vanguard

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The Spartucus/Nardis medley from Solo Sessions 1 might be finest track of them all

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Great article Ted.

I would add that Bill took great care of the things he valued most ( truth, beauty, kindness, understanding, music) His body was a vehicle for a higher purpose which he willingly sacrificed himself to.

Hard for the folks around him, but love works in mysterious ways and Bill is still teaching us about that.

Merry Christmas to you and your loving family. We all have so much to be grateful for.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Laurie Verchomin

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Thanks for sharing these words Laurie. You knew Bill so well, and I know that many of us will take some comfort from your reflections.

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Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

I was in a practice room (a junior in high school) butchering Time Remembered when someone came into the room and told me Bill had died. It hit me so hard but there was no one to talk to about it. I never got to see him live but have always considered him a primary influence.

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Dec 23, 2021·edited Dec 23, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

Bill Evans came by the Great American Music Hall before that last week at Keystone Korner. He wanted to make good on a check that he had bounced at the club sometime earlier. According to Orrin Keepnews that was not an unusual thing for him to do.

He confessed to GAMH's owners that he was using again and he looked ashen with the red rings around his eyes positively glowed.

He played at GAMH many times between 1973 and 1979. In the early days, possibly the years he was getting methadone treatment his posture changed and by 1975 his face had risen from nearly ON the keyboard to almost vertical.

I recall that the GAMH owners promoted that show at the New Varsity Theater but since the club has been sold to new owners four times since then the records are no longer available but I think attendance was in the "low dozens." Another GAMH produced show with the Count Basie Orchestra drew a larger crowd but those two were the end of the attempt at "outside concerts" in Palo Alto.

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I was at that Count Basie concert at the New Varsity. It was well attended, as I recall. My info on the Bill Evans performance there is all secondhand.

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This piece provokes so many thoughts. It is ultimately so sad. Thank you for this, Ted; it’s very real.

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Dec 24, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

After years of record collecting, I thought I understood music. Then I heard Bill play with Scott LaFaro and realised there would always be so much more to understand.

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Dec 24, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

When the trio played Suicide… at Graham Chapel of Washington Univ. St Louis, it lasted over 20 minutes. So glad I saw them.

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Dec 25, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

I have listened to the Village Vanguard with new interest and attention since reading this piece. Thank you for renewing my interest and focus on these great performances!

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Dec 27, 2021·edited Dec 27, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

This is a wonderful article. Keystone Korner Jazz club is in Baltimore Maryland with same owner Todd Barkan . Great Jazz/ resturant

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Dec 27, 2021Liked by Ted Gioia

I don't think I got to that Keystone Korner gig with you, damn.

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