Five classic Bill Evans albums on Verve – all in tiny LP-styled sleeves! On Trio 64, Bill Evans is working with a really wonderful trio – one that features Gary Peacock on bass and Paul Motian on drums – both budding young modernists who help Evans reach some new sounds on the set! The record starts out with a groove that's perhaps more inside than you'd expect – but it then quickly moves into the sort of sensitively-played numbers that really made Evans a key force in jazz during the early 60s – supported by equally personal work from Peacock and Motian, who both clearly feel free to move beyond common piano trio cliches. Tracks include "Dancing In The Dark", "Always", "Little Lulu", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", "Everything Happens To Me", and "For Heaven's Sake". On Simple Matter Of Conviction, Bill Evans is working with bassist Eddie Gomez, a hugely talented bassist that would be one of Bill's best partners during this period, and a player who added a nice dose of soul to the proceedings. The drummer is Shelly Manne, who's pretty nice, too – and really shows off some of his more sophisticated shadings here in the presence of Evans and Gomez – similar to his work on the great Empathy album. Tracks are shortish, but filled with imagination – and titles include "Unless It's You", "These Things Called Changes", "Stella By Starlight", and "A Simple Matter Of Conviction". Further is a follow up to the similarly-titled Conversations With Myself album recorded several years before – and like that one, a record that has Bill Evans playing "with" himself, via the technology of overdubs! The album's less a solo album, than a duet one – given that most of the numbers feature Evans working between melody and rhythm on overlapping piano lines – creating a mini chorus of pianos that sounds totally great, and wonderfully unique! Titles include "Emily", "Yesterdays", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", "Funny Man", "The Shadow Of Your Smile", "Little Lulu" and "Quiet Now". Next is Bill Evans' first famous appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival – a great 60s trio session, with Eddie Gomez on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums! The tunes are mostly relatively familiar ones, but the ensemble on the set gives them a freer and more lyrical feel than you might expect – especially with DeJohnette on drums, who is a somewhat more powerful choice
than some of Bill's other drummers of the 60s. Eddie Gomez is great, as always – with that round bass sound that we totally love – and titles include "Nardis", "Sleepin Bee", "Embraceable You", "Someday My Prince Will Come", "Mother Of Earl", "One For Helen", and "Walkin Up". And last, but not least, is What's New – one of Bill Evans' most beautiful albums from the time – and one that features the fantastic team of Jeremy Steig and Eddie Gomez, who were cutting some beautiful records for other labels at the time. Steig's flute later got very silly, but at this point, he's got a raw stripped-down sound that works perfectly with Gomez's warm, slightly funky basslines – making for a slightly soulful approach that really transforms the session. Evans is no slouch either – and the youthful company makes him play some of his best bits in years – on titles that include "Time Out For Chris", "So What", "Spartacus Love Theme", and "Autumn Leaves".