"...an afternoon after which nothing was ever the same."
January 23, 2006 11:59 AM Subscribe
On Sunday, June 25, 1961, New York's famous Village Vanguard witnessed one of the greatest live jazz performances ever recorded: the afternoon and evening sets by the Bill Evans Trio (review). Evans was one of the great jazz pianists and Paul Motian has been playing superb drums for half a century now, but it was bassist Scott LaFaro who made the group something new; where other bassists kept time, he played the bass "as though he were playing a large guitar," and inspired a kind of "simultaneous composition" that left everyone who heard it awed when he joined up with Evans (after working with Stan Getz, Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman).
On June of 1961 the Evans trio had a memorable week at New York’s Village Vanguard; the final day of the engagement, June 25th, was taped in its entirety. On July 3, he played Newport with Stan Getz; it would be the final performance of Scott LaFaro. On July 5 he visited his mother in Geneva [NY], and stayed until it was very late. He was invited to spend the night, but said no; he had to get back to New York. In the early hours of July 6, Frank Ottley and Scott LaFaro died when Scott’s car left the road, hit a tree, and caught fire. Bill Evans was so distraught he did not perform publicly for nearly a year...[More inside.]
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