Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Everybody Digs Bill Evans

Many jazz musicians resemble their music. Who could have looked more worldly-wise than Duke Ellington, or wittier than Paul Desmond? But sometimes a musician embodies a contradiction, and then you can read it off his face, just as you can see a fault line snaking through a tranquil landscape. Such was the case with Bill Evans. His shining tone and cloudy pastel harmonies transformed such innocuous pop songs as ''Young and Foolish'' and ''The Boy Next Door'' into fleeting visions of infinite grace. Yet the bespectacled, cadaverous ruin who sat hunched over the keyboard like a broken gooseneck lamp seemed at first glance incapable of such Debussyan subtlety; something, one felt sure, must have gone terribly wrong for a man who played like that to have looked like that....

- Terry Teachout, noting that today would have been Bill Evans' 67th birthday.


DarkoV said...

I only wish this were true! I usually insert a selection of Mr. Evans' performances (from "Waltz for Debby", "Sunday @ Village Vanguard", "Undercurrent", or "Bill Evans Alone") when I'm d.j.-ing my occasional radio show at University of Delaware. The responses I get, especially form folks in their 20's & 30's is disappointing, to put it mildly. "Muzak!, you're playing elevator music."
Aside from an aversion of complexity in music, I find a lot of folks (dare I say majority) to be totally clueless to the idea of subtlety. Perhaps it's the shouting, screaming and thumping of hip-hop or the utter vacuousness (??) of songs by the talent de-limited Spears, Lohans, & Simpsons of today's pop music that has failed to pass on music appreciation to the younger half of our population. It's a shame and a national tragedy that musicians like Evans, Powell, Tatum, and even Coltrane, Ellington and Davis are being ignored and snubbed by so many people. I almost want to yank their ears off since they are so underusing and mis-using them.
Where's my coffee!??!? This rant's gone on long enough.

Whisky Prajer said...

Perhaps I should amend the header to "Everybody ought to dig Bill Evans."