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Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

Bill Evans with Jim Hall – Undercurrent | Mobile Fidelity Silver Label

$48.00

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

Bill Evans with Jim Hall – Undercurrent | Mobile Fidelity Silver Label

$48.00

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A TAV Essential Listening Album.

“Bill Evans catapulted to the top of the jazz world in June 1961 after reeling off three straight masterpiece sessions at New York's Village Vanguard with his trio. Yet the emotional highs came to a screeching halt shortly thereafter when bassist Scott LaFaro died in a car accident. Devastated, Evans refrained from playing for nearly a year. If not for an inspirational collaboration of tremendous creative outpouring, one wonders what fate may have befallen Evans. Undercurrent, the outcome of two studio sessions with guitarist Jim Hall, is that project.

While Evans managed to sit down for a few one-off takes between LaFaro's passing and these April-May 1962 dates, he largely remained on hiatus and abstained from recording. Whether it owes to the intimate pairing, he and Hall's brotherly chemistry, or the exquisite selection of program material, the results consistently come across as the equivalent of a private meditation - such is the level of introspective depth and quietly shaded interplay throughout. For Evans, the duet clearly functions as therapy, a healing episode in which his partner patiently lays back, shadowing moves and suggesting others, neither musician interested in the spotlight but each striving for (and achieving) transcendent beauty.

In tackling standards such as Rodgers and Hart's "My Funny Valentine" and the Broadway classic "Darn That Dream," as well as the Hall original "Romain," the pair traverses complex harmonies with the astute elegance of a figure skater. At times, Evans and Hall go for broke on a hard-swinging romps, yet it's their implied melancholy and drifting, softly struck melodic refrains on waltzes and ballads that bestows Undercurrent with a nuanced romanticism and whispered atmosphere befitting the record's title.

Indeed, even the album's cover - an iconic photograph by Toni Frissell - exhibits the surreal, almost-hallucinogenic properties of the fare contained within.” - Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

“If Undercurrent, the first and superior of two piano / guitar collaborations by Bill Evans and Jim Hall, were a book and not a record, then the blurbs on the back of the dust jacket might read:

"Lush...beautiful...touching"

"Filled with almost fugitive nuance and effortless interaction"

"Perfection in spiritual and technical communication"

Together, throughout the album, Evans and Hall sound like so much more than just a piano and guitar. Here we have minimalism stood on its head. The smallest number of musicians possible for interactive improvisation producing a sound as full and close as those big block chords in Bartok's "Concerto for Orchestra.”” - All About Jazz

Musicians:

  • Piano – Bill Evans
  • Guitar – Jim Hall

 

 

Item description:

Artist:

Bill Evans with Jim Hall

Title:

Undercurrent

Label:

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

Format:

Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Silver Label, Numbered

Pressing:

US

Release Date:

This reissue: 2014 | Original - 1962

Genre:

Jazz

Style:

Piano, Guitar

Catalog No:

MOFI 1-031

Condition:

New