Bill Evans: Perri Scope; Not The Last; Bass Solo (untitled); Blue in Green; Combination (drum solo); Orbit; Waltz for Debby (53 min)
Gordon Beck ,piano; Kenny Wheeler, trumpet; Tony Oxley, drums; Stan Sulzmann, tenor sax; Dieter Ilg, bass
John Coltrane: Mr P C; After The Rain/Naima; India; Impressions (57min)
Wayne Shorter, Dave Liebman, soprano sax; Richie Beirach, piano; Eddie Gomez, bass;
Jack De Johnette, drums
These two tributes to Jazz Giants of the past achieve differing measures of success.
The Evans concert has the quality horn playing of Wheeler and Sulzmann, who have often been neglected in the forefront of today's Jazz. Ilg is an excellent bassist and Oxley a unique percussionist, both of whom are well appreciated by the audience. The major star here is the highly underrated Gordon Beck and in some ways it may have been more appropriate to have had a trio perform this tribute - simply because Evans operated best of all as a trio leader. The playing here is of a powerful variety and even though four of Bill's compositions are involved, in the final analysis it all seems to extend beyond the scope of Evan's music.
The Coltrane concert is more down to earth, with the driving team of Gomez and De Johnette never allowing the pace to slacken. Beirach is one of the newer pianists who in many ways steals the improvisational plunder with his technical displays and comping, which prove ideal for the session. The two horn players both elect to play soprano saxophones only, which denies the listener a greater variety of sound. Both saxists play to their high standards, but it might have been more rewarding to have had an alternative instrument up front.
Two spirited sessions which occasionally rise to impressive musical moments.
by Al Merritt