Bill Evans – You Must Believe In Spring

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  • This outstanding copy of Bill Evans’ posthumous release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl for this title too
  • Both sides here are lively, dynamic and full-bodied – there’s real weight to the piano, always critically important on the piano recordings we play
  • An exceptionally well-recorded album, especially the piano, thanks to Al Schmitt
  • 4 stars: “This well-rounded set (released posthumously) features the highly influential pianist Bill Evans in a set of typically sensitive trio performances… It’s a solid example of the great pianist’s artistry.”

This relaxed piano trio outing has been one of our favorite Bill Evans releases for close to a decade, in no small part because the best copies have the potential for truly Demo Disc sound. This is one of those, and it demonstrates more than anything else how natural, balanced and real the sound of a good piano trio recording can be.

Most copies of this album lack the energy and drive to keep the music from getting sleepy, but both sides here are lively, dynamic and full-bodied. There’s real weight to the piano, always critically important on the piano recordings we play.

This is the last album Bill Evans made before he died. His playing is emotional and powerful, and the other members of the trio provide fine support.

This vintage Warner Bros. pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with this wonderful trio, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of You Must Believe In Spring 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 even as late as 1981
  • 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 space of the studio

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.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

What We’re Listening For on You Must Believe In Spring

  • 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 common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

B Minor Waltz (For Ellaine) 
You Must Believe in Spring 
Gary’s Theme 
We Will Meet Again (For Harry) 

Side Two

The Peacocks 
Sometime Ago 
Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)

AMG 4 Star Review

This well-rounded set (released posthumously) features the highly influential pianist Bill Evans in a set of typically sensitive trio performances. With his longtime bassist Eddie Gomez and his drummer of the period, Eliot Zigmund, Evans explores such songs as “We Will Meet Again,” Jimmy Rowles’s classic “The Peacocks” and the “Theme from M*A*S*H.” It’s a solid example of the great pianist’s artistry.