MONICA ZETTERLUND — Waltz For Debby (with Bill Evans) (review)

MONICA ZETTERLUND — Waltz For Debby (with  Bill Evans) album cover Album · 1964 · Vocal Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Amilisom
Not to be confused with the live Village Vanguard recording of Bill Evans by the same name, "Waltz For Debby" is a one-time collaboration between Swedish vocalist Monica Zetterlund and the Bill Evans Trio of 1964 (consisting of drummer Larry Bunker and bassist Chuck Israels). Zetterlund became proud of this album above her others, saying it was "the best I've done".

It's an album to be proud of. She doesn't sound as professional or virtuosic a vocalist as some of the big names out there, but despite this her voice is a nice addition to the piano style of Bill Evans, giving this album a very nice cool-jazz atmosphere. Because of this, the highlights of the album are the ballads, "Some Other Time" being a prime nomination of mine. For Bill Evans, this album allowed for a nice accessible and minimalistic contrast from his other albums with the current trio. He solos on only a few of the tracks, a fact that can be a little disappointing for listeners of his. But the solos he plays here are actually well done. Unlike other recordings with this trio his solos here are shorter and more under control, allowing for more melodic contour.

In addition to the jazz tunes Zetterlund sings what I'm assuming to be Swedish folk tunes on this album, being "Jag Vet en Dejlig Rosa (Beautiful Rose)", "Vindarna Sucka (Sorrow Wind)", and "Om Natten (In The Night)". Each of these melodies have a dark, ethereal feel to them, something that the group does a really great job of creating a cool atmosphere for. I consider them to be the superior points on the album.

Of course, as the title implies, the Bill Evans tune "Waltz For Debby" is on this album. Here Zetterlund sings Swedish lyrics to it. Although there aren't any solos played on it, the group makes it interesting by changing the feel from the spacious 3/4 waltz it starts as to the quarter-note-triplet feel in 4/4 and back.

Overall I would say this is one of the better Bill Evans recordings I have heard with Israels and Bunker. Playing with Monica Zetterlund was a good choice.
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