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Thread: Fred Hersch - Evanessence: A Tribute To Bill Evans

  1. #1
    Newbie miles ahead's Avatar
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    Feb 2008

    Default Fred Hersch - Evanessence: A Tribute To Bill Evans

    Artist:Fred Hersch

    Title:Evanessence:A Tribute To Bill Evans

    Year Of Release:1990

    Label:Jazz City/Pony(Japan)


    There are 'tribute' releases that feel like more of a tax write-off than anything else,usually all-star gatherings that have well-known artists performing by rote,adding nothing of value to the canon of the featured musician. On the other hand,there are record sessions that are of such value that both the performers and the music of the featured perfomer benefit. EVANESSENCE:A Tribute To Bill Evans,falls firmly into the later category.
    Pianist Fred Hersch,a dedicated devotee of Evans music for many years,fashioned this outstanding tribute-and it is that-based on a deep understanding of his music. What makes it noteworthy is how Hersch,who has long since found his own voice,was able to find new ways of reinventing familiar tunes,giving them new life.
    The highlight of the session is the first track My Bells,an Evans composition that he recorded only twice,and never in an standard trio release. It has Hersch playing an outstanding solo,this one with a section that has a series of descending runs,cascade-like,ending in a phrase that captures the 'heart' of the piece. It's pure Evans,but completely Fred Hersch-beautiful!
    Gary Burton,who does a fine solo on Bells,performs well throughout the date. The group is so tight that you'd think it was a regular working band-it wasn't,but the common bond for all is the love of Bill Evans music. Their play is inspired and that comes through clearly in the performances.
    Bassist Marc Johnson(a member of Evans final trio),adds further authenticity to the proceedings,although none is needed. Toots Thielemans adds his familiar harmonica sound to several tracks(reminding us that he recorded with Evans-Affinity).
    There are many wonderful moments on this release,but I'll just highlight a few:the great arrangement of Nardis/Lonely Woman w/fine drumming from Jeff Hirschfield,Hersch's out-of-tempo treatment of I Wish I Knew,the uptempo swing of Alice In Wonderland which closes the date.
    No,this is not your generic,run-of-the-mill tribute session,but a release that will have you returning to it again and again,as I have. Highly recommended!
    Consumer Note:Although hard to find in it's original Japanese issue,this date was issued in the states by EVIDENCE,under the Evanessence heading. It's easily available at the usual places-and the sound on either release is excellent. Full-bodied,crisp and a 'presence' that finds it's match on a ML system.

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    "Everybody here's got ears"-Jon Hendricks

  2. #2
    Super User Brad225's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Wesley Chapel, Fl


    Thanks for the great review.

    I found a copy on ebay. It'll take a couple of weeks from Japan but it sounds well worth it.

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