February 20, 2011, 4:00 - 5:30 pm (Doors open at 3:30 pm)

Tribute to Bill Evans

Tickets: $20 (cash or check) at the door only!

The United Church of Santa Fe

Bill Evans

It would be no stretch to call Bill Evans the most influential jazz pianist of the last half-century. Born in 1929 in Plainfield, New Jersey, Evans began his musical career in unspectacular fashion, playing boogie woogie and working in polka bands in addition to trying to get into the jazz scene. He first gained prominence as a sideman with artists like Charles Mingus, Cannonball Adderley, and, most famously, Miles Davis, whose group he joined in 1958. Evans played a major role in Davis' epochal recording, "Kind of Blue" in 1959. Soon after, however, Evans left to form his own trio, which would itself change the direction of jazz. This trio, featuring bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, introduced a novel, interactive approach to trio playing. In contrast to most earlier trios, in which the piano was clearly the main voice with the bass and drums merely playing supporting roles, the musicians of Evans' trio interacted with each other spontaneously, producing a more egalitarian and free-flowing sound. With various changes in personnel, the Bill Evans Trio remained a major force in jazz until Evans' early death in 1980 at the age of 51.

The piano playing of Bill Evans has influenced virtually all jazz pianists who have come since. While the impact of swing era players like Earl Hines and Nat Cole, as well as bebop musicians like Bud Powell can be heard in Evans' playing, he gradually developed a deeply personal sound. His impressionistic chord voicings, flowing melodic lines, and the incomparable sound he coaxed out of even the most mediocre pianos have spawned countless imitators. Evans was also a prolific composer whose compositions often echo the intimate, searching sound of his improvisations. Beautiful pieces like "Waltz for Debby", "Blue in Green", and "Turn Out the Stars" have worked their way into the standard jazz repertoire.

The Tribute Trio is honored to be able to perform the compositions of Bill Evans and pay homage to his revolutionary trio.