Review

BILL EVANS (PIANO) Loose Blues

Boxset / Compilation · 1992 · Post Bop
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3.5/5 ·
Amilisom
What originally drew me to the obscure Bill Evans album known as "Loose Blues" was primarily the lineup. This was the first album I'd come across where Bill Evans was playing with the bassist Ron Carter, who I'd known primarily through his work with Miles Davis' second great quartet as well as on other quintessential albums of the 60's. The appearance of Philly Joe Jones on drums wouldn't be a first for Evans.

It came as no surprise from the start of track 1, "Loose Bloose," that the groove created between bass and drums swung significantly stronger than the more airy atmosphere usually created in Bill's more usual rhythm sections. What made the mix all the more interesting was the obvious contrast between the rhythm section and the rest of the band. Playing the tenor sax was the soft-spoken Zoot Sims, who I admit to having little knowledge of. Jim Hall, who makes appearances on other Bill Evans albums, plays guitar. The resulting effect, perhaps an exaggeration, is that the bass and drums swing harder than anybody else in the band. Everybody else floats over the groove like a pillow fort built on cinderblocks.

Plus, the combination of piano, guitar, and Sims' delicate tone made for very nice timbres. Whether it's in "My Bells" where the tenor sax is placed with a backdrop of cascading guitar and piano chords, or in the beginning of "Loose Blues" where the melody is played monophonically by Evans and Sims with Hall complimenting the bass line, the combination is unique and enjoyable.

According to the linear notes, Orrin Keepnews actually found the experience and circumstances of recording this album to be quite stressful and frustrating. One of the tunes, "My Bells" features a tempo change partway through the form. It makes the solos interesting to listen to, but recording it was another story. The studio had little money for rehearsal, and the group went as far as Take 25 before having enough material capable of splicing together. As haphazard as the circumstances turned out, the album was ironically not released until 20 years later.

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