A great package – 5 wonderful albums from Bill Evans, all in tiny LP-styled sleeves! Explorations features the Bill Evans trio with Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums – a near-perfect lineup that forever raise the bar for jazz piano expression! The title here is certainly apt – because even though many of the tunes are shortish, Evans has a sense of exploration in the way he's approaching the keys – one that still retains some of the lyrically rhythmic traces of his first few records – but which also glides forth into territory that was virtually untapped on record for the time. The revolution here is so subtle, it's easy to miss from the perspective of our generation – but give it a few listens, and the record will open up beautifully! Titles include "Israel", "Haunted Heart", "Elsa", "Nardis", and "I Wish I Knew". Waltz For Debby is an incredible album from Bill Evans – and maybe THE record you need in your collection if you're trying to understand his contribution to jazz! The album's one of Evan's first sides from the Village Vanguard – and features the legendary trio that included Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums – both players who could shake free from conventional rhythmic roles in a piano trio, yet who also support Evans' lyrically modal playing here beautifully! The tracks are a bit longer than Bill's studio sides from the time, allowing for even more magical interplay on the keys – and titles include "My Foolish Heart", "Waltz For Debby", "Detour Ahead", "My Romance", "Some Other Time", and "Milestones". Moonbeams is a very hip set from Bill Evans' second trio – the legendary lineup that featured Chuck Israels on bass and Paul Motian on drums! Both players bring Evans' sound to an even greater level of spaciousness – allowing for lyrical interplay that's completely amazing, and even furthers the promise of genius made by Bill on his first few albums – a bold step forward that really makes this album one of Evans' standout sets of the early 60s! Titles include an early reading of Evans' wonderful tune "Re: Person I Knew", plus "Very Early", "In Love In Vain", "Stairway To The Stars", "I Fall In Love Too Easily", "If You Could See Me Now", "It Might As Well Be Spring", and "Polka Dots & Moonbeams". Interplay is a rare quintet outing for Evans – one that breaks the mode of the usual trio format by adding in Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and Jim Hall
on guitar – alongside rhythm players Percy Heath on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums – already a unique enough match for Evans' talents! The pairing of Evans and Hall
has been beautifully documented on other records – and sounds equally great here – but the real treat is Freddie Hubbard's horn, which often lays back on most of the tracks, then bursts in with a brashness that really ignites some of the tunes! Titles include "When You Wish Upon A Star", "You & The Night & The Music", "I'll Never Smile again", "You Go To My Head" and the Evans original, "Interplay". At Shelly's Manne Hole is a great west coast live date from Bill Evans – one that showed that his magic on the keys was equally at home in LA as it was in New York! The session's especially noteworthy for the presence of drummer Larry Bunker – a great player who worked on countless recordings, both jazz and non-jazz, but who hits a new level here with the Evans Trio – one that almost matches that of Paul Motian for his sensitivity and lyrical interplay with Evans' piano and the bass of Chuck Israels! Titles include "Blues In F", "Our Love Is Here To Stay", "The Boy Next Door", "Swedish Pastry", and "Round Midnight".