WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Conversations With Bill Evans / Jean-Yves Thibaudet


Release Date: 03/11/1997 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 455512   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Michel LegrandEdward "Duke" EllingtonJames Van HeusenSteve Swallow,   ... 
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

Special Order:  This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This extraordinary recital, in which Thibaudet brings his technical mastery and fine musicianship to music which has only lately been the subject of intense study by the best jazz musicians of the current generation, brings a convincing argument for the aesthetic validity of the interpreter's role in music. As the detailed and intelligent booklet-notes by Jed Distler point out, Bill Evans's compositions often utilize a harmonic and rhythmic language in part derived from French and English composers ;itch as Ravel, Debussy and Delius. His phraseol3gy and the general intellectual argument of the music therefore makes a recital such as this an imaginative, risky but not foolhardy project.

What is extraordinary is the way in
Read more which Thibaudet has reached a perfect understanding of the rhythmic subtleties of Evans's phrasings and cadences, while perfectly preserving the architecture of the composer's structures. This is not just a case of playing the transcriptions, brilliantly realized by Jed Distler, Art Murphy, Jim Aitken and Bob Bauer, but of infusing them with the breath of Artistic life in judging so precisely the pace, dynamics and emotional fluctuations implied by the written music. Evans himself was the most subtle of pianists, possessing an incredible sensitivity of touch and a handsome technique, but Thibaudet matches him here in tonal conrol and excels him in execution. This is perhaps being unfair to Evans, who was often playing difficult passages in the heat of the improvised moment, but it is ;till a revelation to hear Thibaudet, for example, in the mprovised section of Turn Out The Stars, transcribed from the premiere of the work, first heard as one section of a suite played live in memory of Evans's father At New York Town Hall in 1966. Thibaudet smooths out the hesitancies of Evans's own playing And brings a wonderful balance Ind certainty to the work withmit robbing it of any of its emotional depth.

Other pieces are less remarkable, and the inclusion of Duke Ellington's Reflections in D (a theme not strongly associated with Evans but very close to Ellington) instead of other Evans classics such as Blue in Green or N.Y.C.'s No Lark, or a treatment of Scott LeFaro's Jade Visions, seems an odd decision. That N. Y. C.'s No Lark, a formidable challenge, could have been successfully negotiated is proven by Thibaudet's success with the exacting complexities and hidden beauties of Love theme from "Spartacus", a transcription from the ground-breaking 1963 Evans album "Conversations With Myself" where the pianist used multitrack facilities to build up no less than three simultaneous piano tracks on a range of themes, some his own, some from the pens of others. Thibaudet himself, both here and on Song For Helen, adds an overdubbed piano track to reproduce the intricacies of Evans's musical thought. And while Jed Distler's transcription of Spartacus dispenses with the improvisation (which is cast in 'jazz time') and half of the almost dizzyingly heady three-way interweaving of the final theme restatement, Thibaudet's rendering of the one Liszt-like melodic arabesque Distler allows is breathtaking.

This disc is no idle fancy, no indulgent nod towards an art-form perceived as essentially frivolous, but a genuine reappraisal of serious music which can only illuminate the integrity of all concerned. I await a second volume of these adventures with keen anticipation.

-- Keith Shadwick, Gramophone [6/1997]

----------

The idea of a classical artist playing Evans resonated with [Decca's] producers, and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, a longtime jazz aficionado and Evans fan, was intrigued by the idea. 'I got hold of the ‘Turn Out The Stars’ transcription,' says Thibaudet, 'and started including it on my recitals as an encore. It never failed to go over well with the audience. One of Bill’s old college music professors came to see me backstage in Louisiana, and was thrilled that his former pupil’s music was being played by a classical pianist. After all, the music is so wonderful, and what better way to expose classical audiences to the riches of jazz?'

Producer Eric Calvi and I pored through Evans’ entire recorded output to come up with a list of selections that might lend themselves well to a classical pianist with a genuine feeling for the idiom—including, as it happened, “Here’s That Rainy Day.” With Thibaudet, we discussed each song point by point, carefully outlining how I would go about transcribing and arranging each song.

We wound up with eight essentially note-for-note reproductions transcribed from Evans’ unaccompanied solos, while four were afforded relatively freer treatment, with portions from different recordings of the same tune combined, expanded, or pared down. Reducing Evans’ three overdubbed piano tours-deforce on Alex North’s “Love Theme from Spartacus” was no picnic, especially those extensive, delicate rapid runs at the end. Indeed, all my hard work went out the window when Thibaudet suddenly began inventing his own lines during the recording session. “It wasn’t planned,” Thibaudet recalls. “I just did it on the spur of the moment, playing all kinds of things based on what Bill originally played.” I wonder if Jean- Yves’ impromptu, in-between renditions of “Tea for Two” and “Take Five” repose in Decca’s vaults. Surely Bill Evans’ gentle spirit hovered over the sessions, nodding in approval.

-- Jed Distler (excerpted from the article "Transcribing Evans" in Listen Magazine, March 2009)
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Noelle's theme by Michel Legrand
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler 
2.
Reflections in D by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1953; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 7 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler 
3.
Carnival in Flanders: Here's that Rainy Day by James Van Heusen
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler 
4.
Hullo, Bolinas by Steve Swallow
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler 
5.
Spartacus: Love Theme by Alex North
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler
This recording includes overdubbed piano. 
6.
Song for Helen by Bill Evans
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler 
7.
Waltz for Debby by Bill Evans
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler
This work was written in collaboration with Eugene Lees. 
8.
Turn Out the Stars by Bill Evans
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Art Murphy and Jed Distler 
9.
Since we met by Bill Evans
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Bob Bauer
Arranged: Jed Distler 
10.
Peace Piece by Bill Evans
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 7 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jim Aitken 
11.
Your Story by Bill Evans
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 5 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Jed Distler 
12.
On the Town: Lucky to be me by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, NYC 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Richard Rodney Bennett and Jed Distler
Arranged: Bill Evans 

Featured Sound Samples

Waltz for Debby (Evans)
Noelle's Theme (Legrand)

Sound Samples

Song for Helen
Waltz For Debby
Turn Out The Stars
Noelle's Theme
Reflections in D
Here's That Rainy Day
Hulo, Bolinas
Love Theme From "Spartacus"
Since We Met
Peace Piece
Your Story
Lucky To Be Me

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In