Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert (2017)

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feature photo: Giuseppe Pino (1968)


Note: track streamed above is from ‘At The Montreaux Jazz Festival’, recorded one week before the Hilversum Concert.

At seventy-five years, drumming legend Jack DeJohnette shows no sign of slowing down; touring, composing and recording at a sprightly pace. And it hadn’t gone without notice, either: his new band with John Scofield, John Medeski and Larry Grenadier is one of the most talked-about jazz records of the year and he leads a trio consisting of Matt Garrison and Ravi Coltrane that’s explorative and dynamic.

The title of this article makes clear this is about a Bill Evans record, so why all the fuss about the drummer? Because DeJohnette has accomplished so much in a career that was present for many of the touch points of jazz of the last fifty-plus years, it’s easy to forget his brief participation in a trio led by the idiom’s most revered pianist. For a long time, the only official Bill Evans album during the six-month ‘DeJohnette’ era was At the Montreux Jazz Festival. Resonance Records has tripled the amount of available recordings by the Bill Evans/Eddie Gomez/Jack DeJohnette trio with the September 1, 2017 issuance of Another Time: The Hilversum Concert.

Recorded one week after At the Montreux Jazz Festival and just two days after another Resonance release of a long-lost record, Some Other Time, The Hilversum Concert was also a document from a stop in the same European tour. While Some Other Time was taped in a studio in West Germany, the latter date documented a live concert in the Netherlands.

The recording of this gig came to light less than a year ahead of its release. That all the rights could be secured so quickly is remarkable enough but the audio quality of it is wonderfully fine, surpassing that of the Montreux event.

All of the songs played on this set are typical Evans numbers, but “Nardis” is the standout track of the concert, and not just because it’s one of Evans’ signature tunes. Here, it’s also because DeJohnette gets extended solo space that is most revealing of what he brought to the ensemble unique to him. Gomez goes first and that’s enough for the price of admission, especially his spirited hand-off to Evans. A short time later, DeJohnette takes command, displaying a Joe Morello-like ability of playing the gaps in between the beats as much as the beats themselves, slowly drifting further and further away from the melody until Evans’ re-entry signals one last go around of the chorus.

At the start of the program, Gomez’s famously singing bass is immediately noticeable on “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” but DeJohnette’s multi-faceted cymbal parts lurk just underneath the surface. Evans and Gomez engage in lively dialogue on “Very Early,” all while staying firmly tied to the harmony. This hallmark of an Evans trio is capped by another hallmark: the highly poetic bass solo. “Who Can I Turn To” follows in a similar pattern, Evans putting a bow on a superbly rhapsodic solo with a descending run.

Evans slows down to heartwarming balladry for “Alfie” as DeJohnette’s brushes mesh naturally with Gomez’s concise patterns. The tempo of “Embraceable You” jumps up a couple of notches in the middle of Gomez’s spotlight.

“Turn Out The Stars” is another example of the special telepathy between Gomez and Evans, but DeJohnette had in this short time already decoded their simpatico and is able to join into the conversation as a peer.

Through it all is Bill Evans himself, a model of consistent, exemplary performance regardless of whatever personal demons he was battling at the time. Clearly he must have been in a good state of mind in mid-1968 with a rhythm section that for the first time was comparably as strong as the classic LaFaro/Motian lineup he had led seven years earlier. Combining that with a well-engineered recording makes Another Time: The Hilversum Concert a ‘new’ Bill Evans album that’s also easy to recommend for reasons well beyond merely completing a catalog.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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