Magazine article Guitar Player

Bill Evans, Everybody Digs Bill Evans

Magazine article Guitar Player

Bill Evans, Everybody Digs Bill Evans

Article excerpt

BACK IN THE pre-lnternet Stone Age of the 1970s and '80s, my connection to new music was the Bay Area's own KSAN radio. KSAN was the FM birth child of freeform radio pioneer Tom Donahue, an underground station where relaxed, understated DJs spun extended jams and strung together a gamut of musical styles that could segue from Link Wray to Ravi Shankar to the Ramones.

I felt like I was inside the brain of those radio personalities, broadcasters who included Richard Gossett, Ben Fong-Torres, Dusty Street and Bonnie Simmons. Every day was a learning experience, and I always heard something new and exciting. KSAN radio introduced me to Muddy Waters, Lonnie Mack, Ravi Shankar, the Sex Pistols, the Police, the Pretenders, Devo and many other great artists that might have required an archeological dig if KSAN hadn't delivered their music to my home.

This is how I first heard Bill Evans' "Peace Piece," from his LP Everybody Digs Bill Evans. Released in 1959 on the Riverside label, the album was the jazz pianist's second record as a leader and featured Sam Jones on bass and the great "Philly Joe" Jones on drums. I was 13 years old at the time, and, admittedly, most high-calorie jazz playing might have been lost on me. But "Peace Piece" was a great jazz primer for the uninitiated, and I was instantly in awe of Evans' musical mastery. The track is a six-minute vamp over a repetitive bass line, where Evans patiently and brilliantly takes us through a journey of melody and improvisation. …

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