Bill EvansMorning Glory [Limited Edition Overrun Vinyl]
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RESONANCE RECORDS BOWS TWO BRILLIANT BILL EVANS CONCERTS IN BUENOS AIRES!
Stunning Recordings Featuring First Official Release of Morning Glory, a 1973 Concert with Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell, and Inner Spirit, a 1979 Date with Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera,
Available on CD and Digital Download April 30th
Deluxe Booklets Will Feature Rare Photos from the Concerts, Interviews with the Musicians, Overviews by Authors Marc Myers and Claudio Parisi, and Observations by Pianists Richie Beirach and Enrico Pieranunzi
Evans Estate-Approved Releases of Argentinian Concert Gems
Bring Resonance’s Catalog of the Pianist’s Live Works to Seven
Los Angeles – Resonance Records, the leading independent American outlet for archival jazz releases, will issue a pair of lavish two-LP packages devoted to astonishing concert performances by two different and brilliant trios led by pianist Bill Evans as Record Store Day exclusives on Apr. 23.
The collections – Morning Glory, recorded at the Teatro Gran Rex on June 24, 1973, with Evans’ longest-tenured trio mates Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell, and Inner Spirit, recorded at the Teatro General San Martin on Sept. 27, 1979 with his last trio, which featured Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera – will be subsequently issued on Apr. 30 as two-CD sets and digital downloads.
Like Resonance’s five previous releases of live and studio rarities by the master pianist — the most recent of which was 2020’s RSD set Bill Evans Live at Ronnie Scott’s — the label’s two new titles were produced with the full cooperation and approval of the Evans estate. Both the new albums were prepared from the original tapes recorded by the late engineer Carlos Melero (whose 2008 reminiscences about the shows are included).
Zev Feldman – Resonance co-president (with founder George Klabin), producer, and internationally known “Jazz Detective” – says, “These tapes came to us in 2018 from Argentine music journalist Roque Di Pietro, who contacted me and explained the existence of Carlos Melero’s recordings. I had known about them being available as bootlegs, so George and I leapt at the opportunity to once again right the wrongs of the past, and release both concerts officially with the support of Bill Evans’s family. We were fortunate to be able to interview the musicians in each trio for the booklets, as well as a couple piano icons who knew and have great reverence for Evans — Richie Beirach and Enrico Pieranunzi.”
Additional notes for the packages were written by Argentine jazz authority Claudio Parisi, author of the history Grandes del jazz internacional en Argentina (1956-1979), and Evans scholar Marc Myers, whose notes previously graced Resonance’s acclaimed releases Some Other Time (2016), Another Time (2017) and Evans in England (2019). The sets also include many heretofore unseen photographs from the concerts by Argentine drummer Ángel Alberto “Tito” Villalba.
The 1974 performance heard on Morning Glory featured Evans’ longest-running rhythm section of bassist Gomez and drummer Morell, who had supported the pianist since 1968. The show, which was performed at 10 in the morning owing to its last-minute scheduling, was Evans’ first in the country. The date took place in an atmosphere of extreme tumult: The nation’s former leader Juan Perón had just re-entered the country after 18 years of European exile, and Argentina erupted.
Gomez recalls in the notes, “In that era, things were turbulent in the whole region. In Argentina, Juan Perón had just returned from exile, which caused violence in the streets. There was a lot of political turbulence and that turmoil added to the feeling that being in this theater at that time, it was as if you were in a ’40s movie. The tension was palpable.”
Morell adds, “We arrived in Buenos Aires a few days after Perón had returned…. On the drive from the airport to the hotel, you could see along all the roads everywhere, it was strewn with litter. Millions of people had come out to welcome Perón back. There was a lot of political activity at that time all over South America. That was a few months before the coup in Chile where Allende was overthrown and killed. There was unrest all over South America at that time, so it was a historical time to be there.”
Despite the heavy political weather, the concert – which was highlighted by a surprise performance of a bolero, “Esta tarde vi llover,” by the noted Latin American composer Armando Manzanero – was a triumph for Evans, as one can tell from the audible evidence on the recordings.
Argentinian professor Oscar Daniel Chilkowski, who attended the show, recalled to Parisi, “The audience applauded so passionately that he stayed and performed three encores. When the main part of the program ended, I found myself crying like many others in the audience. We were crying because we thought Bill Evans had come out for the last time for a bow. But we were all surprised and thrilled when he came out again and sat down to give us more.”
Inner Spirit represents one of the first trio recordings by Evans’ last great band, with bassist Johnson and drummer LaBarbera, both veterans of Woody Herman’s band. Their work behind the pianist featured in a series of remarkable, intense live recordings captured before the master pianist’s death in September 1980. It also proved to be his final appearance in the country.
Once again, Evans and his band stepped into a society suffused with uncertainty, as a 1976 military coup had toppled the regime of Isabel Perón, who had taken power after her husband’s death in 1974. Myers writes, “By 1979, Argentina also was three years into its notorious ‘Dirty War,’ when right-wing death squads murdered thousands of political dissidents and suspected Peronists. Buenos Aires had become a city of shadows, fear and unease.”
LaBarbera told writer Myers, “It was a bad time down there, politically. There was tension with the military presence in Buenos Aires, but people on the streets and the musicians we met were still joyous and excited to hear Bill.”
The musicians responded with an ecstatic and engaged performance typical of their brief time together. Again, Evans brought a Latin touch to his concert repertoire, with the addition of “Minha,” a composition by Brazilian composer Francis Hime he had recorded four years earlier. He also played such recent additions to his set as “Letter to Evan,” a new piece played solo and dedicated to his son, and “Theme From M*A*S*H.” The rarified climax of the concert came in Miles Davis’ “Nardis”; the great showpiece of the pianist’s last gigs, it stretched to a length of 17 minutes in Buenos Aires, sporting a nearly eight-minute solo introduction and inspired solos by all the group’s members.
LaBarbera says of his collaboration with the band’s bassist, who was then 25, “Marc Johnson and I hooked up immediately. His time was right where I loved it; it was from the first beat. For me, it was seamless. And every time we played, it was instantaneous. It’s like we never left each other. It’s that good. It’s that immediate.”
Johnson says of the concert, “The trio had arrived at a pretty good place. We were definitely on a rise performance-wise. The plateau we hit was pretty high; pretty dependable and reliable. The music was getting to a really fun place. By then, in 1979, I was definitely playing with a little more authority and conviction. Joe sounds amazing on it, as usual, just phenomenal really. He helped keep that trio going and swinging, and kept it all together. I’m really gratified by the level of the performances and even the recorded sound and the selection of material.”
In How My Heart Sings, Evans’ biographer Peter Pettinger writes, “At the end of this concert Bill yelled to his colleagues, ‘Beautiful!’ as well he might.” And as the listener might, as well.