This track is a medley of songs that I grew to know over time in different ways. Any piano player who digs Bill Evans really can't help but to go there sometimes, even often, and why not?
The fabulous Musicologist Thomas Owens (author of the dissertation on Bird wherein he more-or-less successfully builds an īndex of Parker's "licks") would later write an excellent book about what we know in scholarship as the BeBop Era. I'll always remember the moment I reached the end of a chapter, perhaps somewhere about 2/3 through the book, where Owens writes, and I paraphrase, that Bill Evans was the most influential pianist of the BeBop era.
A very bold claim indeed, but as I sat and thought and marveled over how someone of scholarship had at long land crowned Evans THE GUY... just, wow.
But in Bill Evans there is Bud Powell, right? Horace Silver, Red Garland... so many fabulous players, and yet Evans was the Bach of BeBop piano, at least until he began to settle into what I believe to be his less inspired and tragically less engaging work starting around the late-1960's.
And then there's one jazz icon in particular - although his legend did not quite reach substantive mainstream and/or epic proportions until long after his passing in the late-1970's - whose legacy is alive and well by virtue of the volumes of students he taught over the course of several decades. This white, blind, furiously fingered, cantankerous (by some accounts) cranky little dude living in NYC and later Jamaica, was seemingly less hated than he was idolized by a majority of others, as if he were the Maharishi incarnate of jazz improvisation, a cult-like following consisting of a devout cadre of fans, students, imitators, and indelibly inspired jazz giants in their own right, a man whom the verily brilliant performance artist and writer Stanley Crouch's has acknowledged with respect, without dismissing entirely this particular artist's undeniable influence on the music, but otherwise seems to be quite sorrowfully nonplussed, if not outraged for those very same reasons. Stanley Crouch cannot squelch his disdain over the fact that such a mythological figure actually exists - for real, and he matters. And that jazz pianist is Lennie Tristano.
And had there been no Lennie Tristano, what then of Bud Powell and the most influential BeBop pianist, Bill Evans?
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