Thursday Jazz: Bill Evans

Words By J-man

Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett... these are some of the great players of our time. As folks who have elevated jazz music to its prestigious current day level, they have paved the way and sparked interest in many young players captivated by their sound. But who inspired them? Who paved their road to virtuosity? The answer is Bill Evans.

Bill Evans's contribution was in his style. Bill played rhythmically independent, "singing" melodic lines unlike what anyone else had done prior. He would juxtapose the harmonies to create an altogether unique sound differing from the previous bebop swing jazz that came before him. Instead, he fused classical music with jazz and other styles to create his masterful sound while displaying a deep understanding of melodies with his playing.

Bill played with the likes of Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Bennett and so many other greats. But as with many great jazz musicians, Bill had an issue with heroin that led to his eventual death. Many have speculated his habit derived from his time with Miles in the 1950s.

In the end, he is remembered as a legend that continues to be honored by those who follow in his musical footsteps, paving new ground by incorporating this style. His contribution to jazz is a part of a larger circle of continuous progress and virtuosity.


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