Bill Evans – Trio ’64 {Verve} “Master Edition”

Review by Lindsay Planer (

Joining Bill Evans (piano) on Trio ’64 — his initial first three-piece recording for Verve — is the compact rhythm section of Gary Peacock (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). The effort spotlights their communal and intuitive musical discourse, hinging on an uncanny ability of the musicians to simultaneously hear and respond. All the more interesting, Evans had not interacted in this setting before, having most recently worked with Chuck Israels (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums). The personable opener, “Little Lulu,” features the aggregate melodically molding individual and distinct sonic characteristics. Evans’ nimble and emphatic syncopation is not only ably supported, but framed by Peacock’s expressive runs and Motian’s acute sense of timing. “A Sleeping Bee” is one of the collection’s most endearing selections as the groove playfully scintillates surrounding some hauntingly poignant chord changes. Evans bandies back and forth with Peacock, the latter likewise providing a stellar solo. “Always” captures a similar effervescence as the instrumentalists ebb and flow in synchronicity. Since the December 18 session was held the week before Christmas 1963, they fittingly tote out “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” creating a minor masterpiece of post-bop from what could easily have started as a spontaneous seasonal suggestion. Noël Coward’s “I’ll See You Again” bears a brisk waltz persona, enabling the unit to fluently weave its offerings without obstructing the otherwise affective tune. Concluding Trio ’64 is Rodgers & Hart’s standard “Everything Happens to Me,” with an unhurried tempo lingering just long enough to embrace the familiar refrain. Evans sparkles, gliding around Peacock’s full-bodied basslines and Motian’s solid yet restrained beat.

01 – Little Lulu
02 – A Sleepin’ Bee
03 – Always
04 – Santa Claus is Coming to Town
05 – I’ll See You Again
06 – For Heaven’s Sake
07 – Dancing in the Dark
08 – Everything Happens to Me
09 – Little Lulu (bonus track #1)
10 – Little Lulu (bonus track #2)
11 – Always (bonus track)
12 – I’ll See You Again (bonus track)
13 – My Heart Stood Still (bonus track){unused title}
14 – Always (bonus){incomplete selection}
15 – I’ll See You Again (bonus){incomplete selection}
16 – My Heart Stood Still (bonus){incomplete selection}[false starts]

Bill Evans – piano
Gary Peacock – bass
Paul Motian – drums

Recorded December, 1963

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork


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