Bill Evans

Bill Evans

William John Evans, known as Bill Evans was an American jazz pianist. His use of impressionist harmony, inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire, and trademark rhythmically independent, “singing” melodic lines influenced a generation of pianists including: Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, John Taylor, Steve Kuhn, Don Friedman, Marian McPartland, Denny Zeitlin, Bobo Stenson, Warren Bernhardt, Michel Petrucciani and Keith Jarrett, as well as many other musicians world-wide. The music of Bill Evans continues to inspire younger pianists like Fred Hersch, Bill Charlap, Lyle Mays, Eliane Elias and arguably Brad Mehldau, early in his career. He is considered by some to be the most influential post World War II jazz pianist. #

17 Quotes

  • To the person who uses music as a medium for the expression of ideas, feelings, images, or what have you; anything which facilitates this expression is properly his instrument.

  • It’s performing without any really set basis for the lines and the content as such emotionally or, specifically, musically. And if you sit down and contemplate what you’re going to do, and take five hours to write five minutes of music, then it’s composed music. Therefore I would put it in the classical or serious, whatever you want to call it, written-music category. So there’s composed music and there’s jazz. And to me anybody that makes music using the process that we are using in Jazz, is playing Jazz.

  • My creed for art in general is that it should enrich the soul; it should teach spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise… a part of yourself you never knew existed.

  • It bugs me when people try to analyze jazz as an intellectual theorem. It’s not. It’s feeling.

  • I’m using the insides of sounds to move around in a very subtle way which, I think, ends up being inevitable. I feel its the only solution to that particular problem that I presented myself.

  • A guy is influenced by hundreds of people and things, and all show up in his work. To fasten on any one or two is ridiculous. I will say one thing, though. Lennie Tristano’s early records impressed me tremendously. Tunes like ‘Tautology,’ ‘Marshmallow,’ and ‘Fishin’ Around.’ I heard the fellows in his group building their lines with a design and general structure that was different from anything I’d ever heard in jazz.

  • Especially, I want my work — and the trios if possible — to sing.

  • It’s like having a designer dress compared with one from Woolworth’s. Which one is more impressive when you go to the debutante ball?

  • First of all, I never strive for identity. That’s something that just has happened automatically as a result, I think, of just putting things together, tearing things apart and putting it together my own way, and somehow I guess the individual comes through eventually.

  • Perhaps it is a peculiarity of mine that despite the fact that I am a professional performer, it is true that I have always preferred playing without an audience.

  • I’m believe that all people are in possession of what might be called a ‘universal musical mind.’

  • I’m . . . a rather simple person with a limited talent and perhaps a limited perspective.

  • There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere. The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation. This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflections, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician. (liner notes to Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’)

  • We use the people who are in the bullpen producing.

  • Technique is the ability to translate your ideas into sound through your instrument. This is a comprehensive technique . . . a feeling for the keyboard that will allow you to transfer any emotional utterance into it. What has to happen is that you develop a comprehensive technique and then say, Forget that. Iâ??m just going to be expressive through the piano.

  • I believe in things that are developed through hard work. I always like people who have developed long and hard, especially through introspection and a lot of dedication. I think what they arrive at is usually a much deeper and more beautiful thing than the person who seems to have that ability and fluidity from the beginning. I say this because it’s a good message to give to young talents who feel as I used to.

  • When you begin to teach jazz, the most dangerous thing is that you tend to teach style…I had eleven piano students, and I would say eight of them didn’tâ??t even want to know about chords or anything – they didn’tâ??t even want to do anything that anybody had ever done, because they didn’tâ??t want to be imitators. Well, of course, this is pretty naive…but nevertheless it does bring to light the fact that if youâ??re going to try to teach jazz…you must abstract the principles of music which have nothing to do with style, and this is exceedingly difficult. So there, the teaching of jazz is a very touchy point. It ends up where the jazz player, ultimately, if heâ??s going to be a serious jazz player, teaches himself.

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