Saturday, April 10, 2010

CD of the Day - "Bill Evans & Luiz Eça: Piano Four Hands"

CD of the Day
Bill Evans & Luiz Eça: "Piano Four Hands - Live in Rio 1979" (Jazz Lips) 2010

Recorded live @ the now-defunct Chico's Bar in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), on September 29, 1979, in a blessed Saturday night, when Bill Evans sat in during Luiz Eça's regular gig at Chico's (one of Rio's top intimate nightclubs at that time) and shared the piano with his "carioca" friend. Evans was touring Brazil with his trio (Marc Johnson on bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums), had performed at the Sala Cecília Meirelles in Rio, and took his musicians to jam with Eça, whom he admired since the recording of Eça's tune "The Dolphin" on Bill's 1970 LP "From Left to Right".

As I wrote in my liner notes for the 2-CD set "A Trip to Brazil Vol. 3: Back to Bossa," which I produced for Verve/Universal in 2003, having selected two different mixes of Bill's version of "The Dolphin" as the opener and closing tracks:
"Probably the most influential jazz pianist of all time, Bill Evans recorded Luiz Eça’s instigating “The Dolphin” after hearing the composers’ version on Tamba 4’s “We And The Sea” album, and then played it for many many years, right? Wrong. Evans had never heard the Tamba 4 album. And he never performed this song again! Arranger Michael Leonard tells the true story: “A friend of composer Earl Zindars showed up at Wally Heider’s studio bringing a lead sheet with this tune, and insisted to show it to Bill, who was the most gentle person on earth. Bill played the tune, liked a lot, and decided to record it.” Very simple, hum? In the liner notes for the 18-box set “The Complete Bill Evans on Verve”, which includes eight alternate takes of this marvelous piece, drummer Elliot Zigmund, who replaced Marty Morell on Evans’ trio, says: “People always asked him: you gonna play “The Dolphin”? And we never played it.” This was Evans’ first recording using both acoustic and the Fender Rhodes electric piano, something he would repeat on such albums as “Intuition”, “Eloquence”, “Montreux III”, "We Will Meet Again" and “New Conversations”.

Anyway, this bootleg issue on the UK-based Jazz Lips label, is an amazing set, although poorly recorded (the master transfer used a cassette tape as the original source). Bassist Marc Johnson (now married to Eliane Elias) joined the pianists in some songs, but Joe LaBarbera didn't play simply because there was no drum set at the club. Cidinho Teixeira, now a NY-resident who used to share the spotlight with Luiz Eça at Chico's, plays on three tracks when Bill sits out.

Most of the songs are from Evans' 70s book, including some from his final official studio album for Warner, "We Will Meet Again," recorded one month earlier, in August 1979. Gorgeous tunes such as "Laurie" and "Bill's Hit Tune," both heard twice on this bootleg CD, along with "Five," also revisited on "We Will Meet Again." The opening track, Michel Legrand's "Noelle's Theme" (from his long-forgotten terrific soundtrack for an horrible movie, "The Other Sound of the Midnight") comes from the "Affinity" project with Toots Thielemans, and soon became an Evans' favorite in his live appearances as documented on "The Paris Concert, Vol.1".

Eça & Evans also join forces on "Corcovado" (Evans' only recording of this Jobim song), "Who Can I Turn To," and "Letter To Evan." After a short attempt at playing another of Jobim's bossa anthems, "One Note Samba," Luiz Eça suggests they should play Legrand's "Martina," recorded on Evans' "Quintessence" LP for Fantasy. But Bill prefers to perform the jazz standard "Stella by Starlight," a song that allows both pianists to fly high, backed by Johnson on bass.

Jazz singer Leny Andrade appears on "Wave," backed by Cidinho and Marc Johnson. Arnold Mind wrote in the liner notes: "Although Bill doesn't accompany Leny on this set, he was certainly there listening!" Wrong. While Leny was singing, both Eça and Evans were in the bathroom... When Eça returned to the main room, Leny was gone, and it's possible to hear Eça asking: "Where's Leny? Where's Leny?"

Cidinho does a lovely piano solo version of Hermeto Pascoal's "Chorinho Pra Ele," returning to the final number: a hard swingin' take on Durval Ferreira's "E Nada Mais," performed as a four-hand tour-de-force by Cidinho and Luiz Eça.

The CD, officially scheduled for release this next Monday, April 12, has the Total Time of 59m36s, and comes with an 8-page booklet.

Here's the complete tracklist:
1 Noelle's Theme 3:04
2 Untitled Original 2:14
3 Who Can I Turn To 5:04
4 Letter To Evan 3:15
5 Laurie 5:13
6 Five 3:22
7 Wave 4:46
8 Chorinho Pra Ele 2:34
9 Letter To Evan 4:58
10 Laurie 3:06
11 Bill's Hit Tune 5:43
12 Corcovado 3:57
13 One Note Samba (incomplete) mixed with Stella By Starlight 8:26
14 E Nada Mais 3:52
ビル・エヴァンスが1979年ブラジルをツアーした際、ブラジリアン・ピアニストLuiz EcaとリオデジャネイロのChiko's Barで収録したライヴ。ほとんどの曲がピアノ・デュオで数曲ではレギュラー・ベーシストのマーク・ジョンソンが参加。

エバンスは70年の「From Left to Right」というアルバムでエサの「The Dolphin」を演奏し、この曲を一躍ジャズ・ファンに知らしめましたが、二人が一緒に行なったコンサートは長く伝説となっていました。

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