In 1976, jazz pianist Bill Evans was in a class by himself. The New Jersey-born Evans had been recording as a leader for 20 years, and become a true force in modern music. When he went to perform in the Madison Union Theater at the University of Wisconsin on Monday, November 15, 1976 with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund, no one would have predicted that 40 years later the evening’s music would become one of the shining moments of all that Bill Evans accomplished.
On A Monday Evening will be released by Fantasy Records, a division of Concord Bicycle Music on March 24 in vinyl, compact disc and digital formats. It features eight songs performed that night in Madison, and exists thanks to two college-age deejays that recorded and archived the concert. Larry Goldberg and James Farber had interviewed Bill Evans for the college radio station. Goldberg was able to use the station’s recording equipment to preserve the evening for posterity. Remastered from the original analog tapes and using the advanced technique of Plangent Processes for transfer and restoration, the recordings now present a stellar evening of jazz now available for the first time. The Bill Evans Trio is captured in full force at a pivotal moment in the pianist’s career.
In his astute liner notes, GRAMMY® Award-winning writer Ashley Kahn says, “The Evans/Gomez/Zigmund union lasted just two years—Gomez being the first to depart in ’77—yet it still stands as one of the pianist’s most distinctive and memorable groups. On A Monday Evening is a rare- high-fidelity snapshot of that association; as Zigmund points out, ‘There’s really nothing like that, a definitive live recording of that trio. So it’s great that there’s finally an official recording out that represents our live side.’”
The set list that evening included three Bill Evans originals: “Sugar Plum,” “Time Remembered” and “T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune),” along with “Up with the Lark,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Minha (All Mine),” “All of You” and “Some Other Time.” Even though it was recorded during a period when jazz was being taken into an era of electric fusion, there was still a large amount of attention being paid to acoustic players. In a radio interview conducted then by Farber and Goldberg, Bill Evans said, “I just require for my own pleasure that music somehow touch me somewhere along the line and use the musical language in a way that speaks to me in some really human terms.”
Music critic Richard S. Ginell once wrote, “With the passage of time, Bill Evans has become an entire school unto himself for pianists and a singular mood unto himself for listeners. There is no more influential jazz-oriented pianist.” And in Evans’ long and prolific recording career, the addition of On A Monday Evening is now a moving and important contribution to that legacy.
1.Sugar Plum (Bill Evans)
2.Up with the Lark (Leon Robin-Jerome Kern)
3.Time Remembered (Bill Evans)
4.T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune) (Bill Evans)
5.Someday My Prince Will Come (Frank Churchill-Larry Morey)
6.Minha (All Mine) (Raymond Evans-Francis Hime-Jay Livingston)
7.All of You (Cole Porter)
8.Some Other Time (Betty Comden-Adolph Green-Leonard Bernstein)