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Jazz Pianist Bill Evans

More Classical Than Roots

By: - Apr 04, 2016

Bill Evans

Jazz Pianist Bill Evans

From hard bop
Cluster chords
Collaborating with
Composer and theorist
George Russell
Cubana Be and Cubana Bop
Dizzy Gillespie's  big band
Evolved into modal forms
Sustaining single chords
Weaving over and under
Handing off to bass
Sharing more melody
Than keeping time
Extended improvisations
Paul Chambers with Trane
Bill Evans pushing Miles
The resultant  masterpiece
Kind of Blue
No rehearsals
The music evolved
In the studio
Miles gave Evans
Two chords
G minor and A augmented
That became
Blue in Green
For which
Davis took full credit
Miles looked for
Something new
Fusion and rock
Went on to
Bitches Brew
Evans avoided change
Rooted more in classical
Impressionists
Ravel and Debussy
Studied Bach
Rift with black critics
Too European
Not true jazz
No blues and roots
Classical there
From the beginning
Scott Joplin's opera
Treemonisha
Jelly Roll Morton's
Adaptations
Tiger Rag
Even the brilliant Bix
Only piano solo
In a Mist
Evoking Ravel
Later Duke's suites
Black Brown and Beige
Ultra cool
MJQ
Third Stream
Conservatory jazz
Evans written out
Of black history
By Wynton Marsalis
Via Ken Burns
No room in the inn
For Bill Evans
Perhaps greatest
Pianist of his generation
Influenced
Herbie, Chick and Keith
To mention a few
That great Evans trio
Paul Motian drums
Bass player
Scott Lafaro
Dead at 25
Freaked Evans
Strung out
Hands swollen
Painful to play
When we talked
Wrinkles in the legato
Labored melodies
Waltz for Debbie
Not as lilting
As it might have been
At just 51
Died of everything
In 1980
May not have been
Blues Enough
For the purists
Tempered by Bach
If you listen
Great jazz is
Color blind
It eats away
At your soul