Jazz Bill Evans: "A Tribute." Pianists George-Shearing, Richie Beirach, Teddy Wilson, Chick Corea, Warren Bernhardt, John Lewis, Andy LaVerne, Dave McKenna, Herbie Hancock, Joanne Brackeen, Jimmy Rowles, Dave Frishber, Denny Zeitlin, McCoy Tyner. (Palo Alto Records PA 8028-2) -- Jazz writer Herb Wong got the inspiration to put together this two-record set of piano solos to commemorate pianist Bill Evans, who passed on in 1980. Helen Keane, Bill's longtime manager, warmed right away to the idea, and the result is an absorbing look into these 14 pianists, and into the kind of music that Evans played and appreciated in others. The cord that binds them all together is their ability to take a germ of an idea and spin it into a line, rather than just rattle off a series of "licks." Each -- he or she was either admired by Evans influences by him, or close to him personally. Among the offerings: George Shearing playing a dancelike, contrapuntal "Waltz for Debby" (a Bill Evans composition); Chick Corea's version of Evan's Debussyesque "Time Remembered" -- it's pute Chick; Dave McKenna being more light-fingered than usual on "Emily"; and Denny Zeitlin playing an introspective "Quiet Now," his own composition -- a favorite of Evans. A nicely produced package, with liners by Helen Keane and Herb Wong, and brief but touching comments about Evans by each of the pianists. The sound quality is excellent. Proceeds from the sale of the album go to the Bill Evans Jazz Piano Scholarship Fund.
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