Bill Evans – At Town Hall, Volume 1

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  • This superb Piano Trio recording has KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both sides are doing just about everything right — you get real weight to the piano, tons of energy, incredible immediacy, real separation between the instruments and natural live imaging — you really get a sense of where each of the players is on the stage
  • “This LP is a superior effort by Bill Evans and his trio in early 1966… The most memorable piece is the 13-and-a-half-minute “Solo: In Memory of His Father,” an extensive unaccompanied exploration by Evans that partly uses a theme that became “Turn Out the Stars.” – All Music, 4 Stars

It is insanely difficult to find great sounding Bill Evans records. This copy has two sides that are nothing short of Demo Quality. It’s one of the better sounding Piano Trio records we’ll find this year (along of course with any killer copies of The Three that hit the site).

Everything you could ask for from this music is here. You get real weight to the piano, tons of energy, incredible immediacy, real separation between the instruments and natural live imaging — you really get a sense of where each of the players is on the stage. The sound is cleaner and clearer than we heard elsewhere, with more extension up top and more weight down low. The bass sounds JUST RIGHT. Most copies we’ve played weren’t nearly this rich, warm and full-bodied. I don’t think you could find a better sounding copy no matter what you did.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on At Town Hall, Vol. 1

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I Should Care 
Spring Is Here 
Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)

Side Two

Make Someone Happy
Solo – In Memory of His Father, Harry L. Evans, 1891-1966 
– Prologue 
– Improvisation on Two Themes (a. Story Line / b. Turn Out the Stars) 
– Epilogue

AMG Review

… a superior effort by Bill Evans and his trio in early 1966. The last recording by longtime bassist Chuck Israels (who had joined the Trio in 1962) with Evans (the tastefully supportive drummer Arnold Wise completes the group), this live set features the group mostly performing lyrical and thoughtful standards; highlights include “I Should Care,” “Who Can I Turn To” and “My Foolish Heart.” However the most memorable piece is the 13½-minute “Solo – In Memory of His Father,” an extensive unaccompanied exploration by Evans that partly uses a theme that became “Turn Out the Stars.”