Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bill Evans - The Radio Sesjun Shows

Jazz is not a "what", it is a "how" (Bill Evans)
Hans Koert

Bill Evans en de Sesjun radioprogramma's (Nederlands) Bill Evans - The Sesjun Radio Shows (English)

Jazz is not a what, it is a how. If it were a What, it would be static, never growing. The How is that the music comes from the moment, it is spontaneous, it exists at the time it is created. And anyone who makes music according to this method conveys to me an element that makes his music jazz (quote: Bill Evans) (source:

Recently the third 2cd in the series The Sesjun Radio Shows has been released with piano player Bill Evans. Previous double-cds in this great series were radio programs with Chet Baker and Art Blakey, all to be heard during the 1970s and 1980s by the Dutch Tros Sesjun Radio Shows.
Bill Evans - The Sesjun Radio Shows ( PRCD2011005)
Bill Evans joined the Sesjun Radio shows three times and, as Cees Schrama, together with Dick De Winter, co-producer of the concerts, said that his playing was just gre
at. The first two concerts were scheduled at De Boerenhofstede in Laren the 13th of December, 1973 and the 13th of February 1975. Eddie Gomez on bass accompanied Bill at both concerts, and this duo was augmented into a trio during the February 1975 concert with Eliot Zigmund. Eddie Gomez was Evans bass player for twelve years and they can be heard for the first time together at a studio recording for the 1966 Verve album a Simple Matter of Conviction with Shelly Manne on drums. Eliot Zigmund, born in 1945 in The Bronx, played with Bill Evans since the mid 1970s and became a sought after accompanist in the New York jazz scene. He seems to be still active nowadays.
Bill Evans with his caracteristic stoop while performing. ( source:
He replaced Scott LaFaro who was killed in a car crash. I specially liked the piano - bass duet in TTT ( Twelve Tone Tune) and TTTT ( Twelve tone Tune Two) in the second session; the lyrical Earl Zindars composition Sareen Jurer and the great ballad Blue Serge - all great compositions in the hands of the Bill Evans Trio.
Marc Johnson (1953) ( source:
The third radio program for Sesjun was broadcasted at De Meerkoet in Lelystad, the new-founded city in the new polder Zuid-Flevoland in the IJsselmeer, in December 1979, a year before Bill Evans passed away. The trio of Bill Evans, which featured Bill Evans on piano, Marc Johnson at the bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums started with four great tracks; My Romance opens with a rather free Bill Evans intro at the piano, with changing tempos and whatsoever in a way only Bill Evans can do, until after 90 seconds the rhythm section sets the time. Both Nardis as Blue in Green remember Bill Evans participation in the Miles Davis band. Nardis fascinates me thanks to the fact that the three individual artists all three give each other a lot of space to show their music - solos by three equal talented individuals - in those days something less common then today.

Bill Evans and Eddie Gomez (source:
Blue in Green, which was part of the famous Miles Davis Kind of Blue album, with Bill Evans as the piano player, opens with the harmonica of Toots Thielemans, who had just returned from a trip to Japan and who was a special guest during the second part of the concert. Toots and Bill knew each other well as they had made a record together in the last week of October the previous year. Toots also has fast reflexes when it comes to his instrument and his ability to react to anything what's going on around him, Cees Schrama is quote by Jeroen De Valk who wrote the liner notes.
Especially at the third session, the one from 1979, Bill Evans and his band members seem to be in incredible shape, Jeroen De Valk says.
Toots Thielemans (1922) (source:
Bill Evans once said to Bert Vuijsje, jazz journalist, that he didn't like to perform in public and that he preferred to play at home or in a studio at complete silence ( Bill Evans (in Jazzportretten)). This time he topped everything he did for us ...., Cees Schrama remembers: Everyone present, jazz buff or not, knew instinctively from the first few bars on: this is unbelievable. The has be to put on record. In 1979 Helen Keane, Bill's manager, wasn't interesting in releasing this concert, as a recording session had been scheduled for the next year ..... of course, no-one could foreseen Bill's sudden death eight months later.
This third double album is another great title in the series The Sesjun Radio shows, which has scheduled some more radio program featuring Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. Let's hope Cees Schrama and Beeld & Geluid ( Sound and Light) will soon release the 4th album, which features the Stan Getz programs.

Hans Koert
Twitter: #keepswinging

Bill Evans is one of those legendary jazz piano players in post war jazz that influenced the scene. A lot of known and less known pianists like Michel Petrucciani and Enrico Pieranunzi were inspired by his music. Jazz is not a "what", it is a "how" seems to have been said by Bill Evans, a quote I found, which wants to express his meaning that Jazz music is made at the moment you play it - that improvisation is the most important element of Jazz. In de 1970s Bill performed three times at the Tros radio program entitled Sesjun and these concerts are now available on a great 2-cd album in the series The Sesjun Radio Shows. If you love to learn more about this kind of great concerts, start following the Keep Swinging blog at Twitter ( #keepswinging) or ask its free newsletter (
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