Author: Bruce Jenkins  Date Posted:5 April 2024 


Having played on the seminal Miles Davis album Kind Of Blue and gone on to achieve jazz fame with his stellar trios of the late 1950s and early 60s, there is a tendency to see pianist Bill Evans frozen forever in a black and white photo. The neat suit, slicked back hair, ever present cigarette hanging from his lower lip and intense gaze are an archetypal 50s jazz image. It’s all there in the cover photo of Peter Pettinger’s Evans biography. Yet Bill Evans continued to perform and record his impressionistic, introspective music throughout the 1970s and into the following decade.

For all the praise rightly heaped upon the Scott La Faro era, it was the trio comprising Bill, bass player Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell that was the most stable of Evans’ entire career. Formed in 1968, they played and recorded together until 1974, releasing a substantial number of live and studio albums along the way. A number of these arose from tours, not only throughout the United States and Europe, but beyond. A tour of Japan, for example, resulted in a well received album, The Tokyo Concert (1973), Evans’ first for the Fantasy label. That record introduces some new tunes into the trio’s repertoire, several of which were staples of the set list throughout 1973. Six months after Japan another new destination was added to the itinerary: Bill Evans’ first visit to South America. The vibrant and thrilling Buenos Aires concert was released posthumously and has long been out of print, making the 2LP re-issue by Resonance Records (a 2021 Record Store Day special) welcome indeed.

Beautifully pressed and with an informative accompanying booklet, Morning Glory: The 1973 Concert at the Teatro Gran Rex, Buenos Aires is a fine addition to the Bill Evans discography. After the opening "Re: Person I Knew" the audience response could be described as polite. But that might have had nothing to do with the music; for logistical reasons the concert began at 10:00am on a chilly morning! Everyone warms up quickly, however. The pretty waltz, "Emily" is followed by 1964 show tune "Who Can I Turn To?", both featuring the inventive bass playing of Eddie Gomez.

There is a wonderful variety of tone and mood across the concert. "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life" begins introspectively and is followed by a performance of "My Romance" that zings. The Bobbie Gentry song that gives its title to the album is a ballad in classic Evans style; thoughtful, lyrical, romantic.

Naturally we also get some Bill Evans standards. "T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune)", first heard on The Bill Evans Album (1971), bounces between the three players with energy and uncanny connection. "This was Bill’s methadone period—he wasn’t stressed out," remembers Marty Morell. "There was a tranquility to his playing that morning."

As might be expected, the surprise inclusion of "Esta tarde vi llover" by Mexican composer Armando Manzanero went down brilliantly with the Argentinian audience. As did the Evans staples that close the concert, "Waltz for Debbie" and "My Foolish Heart". Evans is in great form throughout, as indeed are the trio. "Buenos Aires was still one of the most amazing concerts I’ve ever performed," said Morell. "We played exceptionally well, and the audience’s passion ran deep. As a trio, we had never quite experienced anything like that. Their reaction was unbelievable." If you are a fan of Bill Evans or simply want to explore some first class jazz, Morning Glory would be a great acquisition. It certainly was a glorious morning in that theatre in Buenos Aires.



Peter Pettinger (1998) Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Essays in the accompanying booklet.


© Bruce Jenkins—April 2024

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