BILL EVANS (PIANO) — Waltz for Debby

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BILL EVANS (PIANO) - Waltz for Debby cover
4.92 | 16 ratings | 3 reviews
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Live album · 1962


A1 My Foolish Heart 4:56
A2 Waltz For Debby 6:54
A3 Detour Ahead 7:35
B1 My Romance 7:11
B2 Some Other Time 5:02
B3 Milestones 6:37

Total Time 37:49


- Bill Evans / piano
- Paul Motian / drums
- Scott Lafaro / bass

About this release

Riverside Records ‎– RLP 399 (US)

Recorded 'live' at the Village Vanguard, New York ; June 25, 1961

Thanks to kazuhiro for the addition and snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

There's a wonderful, crystalline atmosphere contained in these six tracks. All were recorded (beautifully) live; soft audience chatter and glassware can be heard intermittently throughout.

Along with "Live at the Village Vanguard" this is the definitive Bill Evans. The title track is one of the most revered and adored modern jazz standards. Plus there's a tremendous take on Miles' Milestones at the end.

Evans carries you to a time and place of content stasis with his relaxed, cathartic playing. He's never aggressive yet he remains stimulating all throughout. Put this on Sunday morning or Friday afternoon when you want to amplify good vibrations. Good for mixed company, or solitary listening.
Bill Evans has more than a few fantastic live albums so if you’re looking for a place to begin, this is it. Released with perhaps his most complimentary sidemen, at a definite peak in his popularity, ‘Waltz for Debby’ is among the finest Cool Jazz releases.

Evans plays relaxed, as might be expected, but never dull. He is not known as a busy player and often seems content to let other musicians to utilize space that his notes move around, remaining gentle, emotive and effective (bassist Lafaro is an obvious example of this.) It’s a very together-sounding album, which is both a redundant thing to say about good music, and a thrilling thing to say about the trio – on their final album together, Evans, Motian and Lafaro sound whole.

While he never flies into lengthy solos here, Evans still draws out a set of standards and two compositions which later became standards, Davis’ Milestones and Evans’ own classic Waltz for Debby, which is a clear highlight. Equally pleasing is the almost ocean-like wash and shimmer of My Foolish Heart and the more upbeat moments toward the end of the album. (Evans’ fans will also enjoy familiar phrasings in Some Other Time.)

For me, more so than his more adventurous, more famous ‘Sunday at the Village Vanguard’ this is his best live outing. Not to be overlooked.

Members reviews

This album, along with "Sunday at the Village Vanguard", was my introduction to Bill Evans. In the two albums, Evans plays with a very serene sound that I had trouble imitating in my personal piano playing. It wasn't until I started listening to studio albums such as "Portrait in Jazz" that I realized he actually has a slightly sharper and aggressive tone than it sounds like in his live albums.

Does this mean that this album makes him sound better than he is?

Not necessarily, it just means that this album has a great sound. Evans' unique licks are still there and Lafaro takes a solo on almost every song. Even when Lafaro isn't taking an official solo, if you listen closely you can hear him improvising during some parts regardless. If this album did have a problem, it would be the lack of energy. Bill Evans has a way of making every song he plays have a way of feeling really laid back, and the serene feel of this album only amplifies that. That's not a bad thing, and I personally really enjoy that about Bill Evans.

One of the highlights of this album would be the title track "Waltz for Debby". It is probably Bill Evans' most famous tune. Although this track starts out in 3/4 time (as a waltz commonly does), the drummer comes in playing 4/4 time. Suddenly what used to be a measure in 3/4 turns into 2 beats in 4/4 by means of quarter note triplets. Also during the head of this tune comes a part where Evans harmonizes the chords by means of fast arpeggios in his left hand, giving it almost an impressionistic sound.

I noticed that this website provides the track listing for the original LP. The CD version I have has extra takes of "Waltz for Debby", "Detour Ahead", "My Romance", and even a take of Gershwin's song "I Loves You, Porgy" from Porgy and Bess. I would recommend listening to these as well.

Ratings only

  • teo12
  • karolcia
  • wthii
  • Hohesc
  • Fant0mas
  • MoogHead
  • KK58
  • idlero
  • darkshade
  • richby
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • Zarathustra
  • zorn1

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