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The Bill Game - The Music of Bill Evans

Artist: Dorian Ford

Date of Release: 01/01/2008

Catalogue no: 1374

Label: -

Price: £8

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

Summertime

8.59

2

 

My Romance

8.31

3

 

34 Skidoo

6.31

4

 

Walkin' Up

6.29

5

 

Very Early

10.51

6

 

Show Type Tune

6.32

7

 

Waltz For Debbie

8.34

8

 

My Foolish Heart

5.17

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Patrick Levett

Recorded Live at The Space, London, May 2007

Dorian Ford - piano
Tom Herbert - bass
Pat Levett - drums

A post-modern approach and a personal tribute to the late Bill Evans, this trio evolved from an exercise in transcription, in which Dorian transcribed the whole of the album ‘How My Heart Sings’, including bass and drum parts. The trio rehearsed the album note for note, whilst, in performance, they play the tunes as they would any other Jazz Standard. The rigorous foundation is a springboard from which the players chart new and unknown territories.

 

Reviews

 

01/06/2008 Jazzwise, Selwyn Harris

Dorian Ford
The Bill Game (The Music Of Bill Evans)
www.dorianford.co.uk ***
Having studied at Boston’s prestigious Berklee in the 1980’s, Dorian Ford took a step back to concentrate on classical music before becoming a piano recitalist of anything from Bartok to Jarrett. But he’s also an accomplished jazz improvisor as demonstrated by this new recording. Ford likes to investigate new strategies recontextualising jazz and this album is one of them, a trio originally formed to play his transcriptions of Evans’ first post-La Faro album from 1962 How My Heart Sings. Ford’s idea was to rehearse the album note for note from the record and then to go into a concert, throw away the manuscript, and play like they would any other standard. This project has been gathering momentum for some time and the pianist has given as much careful consideration to Evans as he would any classical composer’s repertory. Highlights include fine renditions of Evans originals ‘Walkin Up’ and ‘34 Skidoo’ with the weight of Ford’s piano playing very attractive and Evans-like, although he comes across as faithful to Evans’ style without being entirely slavish. Ford also introduces quotes from the pianist’s original improvisations, but alongside more contemporary influences like Keith Jarrett. Recorded live at The Space on the Isle of Dogs in east London, the sound is good and appropriately unpolished. Ford is joined by the succinct, firm-toned double bass playing of Polar Bear’s Tom Herbert and the drummer Pat Levett. On paper, it may seem a strange half way house between jazz as repertory music and as a platform for experimentation, but isn’t that what jazz musicians generally do anyway? Getting bogged down in too much concept is never a good thing. The proof is in the pudding and Ford has come up with the goods here.

 

08/05/2007 John Miles, Evening Standard Website

To hear a piano trio reconstruct performances from a 1962 Bill Evans session might be disconcerting. In reality this superb trio seems immersed in the mutually supportive ethos Evans sought to establish with his fellow musicians. Dorian has been working on the Bill Game for fifteen years. Given the intense musical intelligence that lay behind the original music prolonged study seems appropriate: Bill Evans calls for the same attention we bring to Bartok. Nor does this sound like the performance of transcriptions. A brief chat with drummer Pat Levett at half-time revealed the extent to which the trio were colouring and inflecting the performances in the present. Four of Evans' own compositions were played: the jaunty, difficult, up-tempos of 'Walkin' Up' and 'Show Type Tune' burst into life, while the complex ballad 'Very Early' was spell-binding. Dorian is an aficionado of Keith Jarrett, and often borrows his deployment of extended codas. The decision to close the performance by following 'My Romance' with 'Waltz for Debbie' and then to encore with 'My Foolish Heart' might have been made to draw down Jarrett's gospelly religiosity. Moving and meditative though this sequence was, it stayed true to the more secular sensibility at the heart of the project. Let’s hear it all again soon, please.

 

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