If you want to luxuriate in jazz then look no further than the Bill Evans Trio with Claus Ogerman conducting a 48 piece orchestra on the appropriately named Bill Evans Trio With Symphony Orchestra. Released in February 1966 the album was the brainchild of Verve record’s A&R Director, Creed Taylor
Taylor was anxious, as perhaps was Evans, to get some crossover success and so, in 1963, he recorded an album with Claus Ogerman called, Bill Evans Plays The Theme From The V.I.P.’s And Other Great Songs. It included a number of popular movie themes that were released as singles to get that all-important airplay.
It took Evans to a wider audience and who knows how many people got into jazz through listening to some of the pianist’s more accessible albums. Albums that included, Trio ’64, Trio ’65, Bill Evans At Town Hall, A Simple Matter of Conviction and of course Bill Evans With Symphony Orchestra; all of which did so much to create the Evans’ legend.
The album with Ogerman was begun on 29 September 1965 in New York City when four tracks were recorded, with the rest of the album concluded in December. The album includes compositions by Grenados, Bach, Scriabin, Faure and Chopin as well as two by Evans and one by Ogerman.
Faure’s ‘Pavane’ is beautiful and did much to make this lyrical piece the firm favourite that it has become. Evans two numbers, ‘Time Remembered’ and ‘My Bells’ are very good, particularly the latter.
According to Evans, “We weren’t trying to prove any new kind of music on this album: our sole drive was for something artistic.” And artful it is, artistic too, but most of all it is just beautiful.
“I was a teenager when I first listened to Bill Evans and he, along with Oscar Peterson, is the reason I played piano. Bill Evans with symphony Orchestra is a wonderful and sometimes overlooked album.” – David Foster