Plainfield, New Jersey, “The Queen City”, home to George Clinton, Milt Campbell, Joe Black, and Bill Evans; the prolific jazz pianist with fingers of silk. His talents are unmatched by his gentle prowess and easy going style of being able to create wonder behind his keys. With his 1967 release, Further Conversations With Myself, Evans is already a master in his craft, but uses his talents to transcend the standard style of recording with overdubs of his own play styles.
William John Evans is primarily a trio styled pianist, working in triplets and adventuring with Miles Davis as well. He was known for his stand-out style of play, and the way that he could manipulate the keys to create treasure in any setting. Evans begins on Further Conversations With Myself humbly, with overdubs of himself; making for the only real music being played his own. There are no featured musicians, and Evans makes up for this by assembling a multi-part body of systems that play rhythm sections and lead section in what seems like ease. The overdubbing is an addition that can be frowned upon in some traditional jazz settings, but this is simply where Bill makes himself part of the spotlight. The way he can split himself into multiple people while staying consistent in creating a beautiful and graceful style at the same time is magnificent. The first introduction to Evans’ beauty can be found on “Emily”, where it begins in almost a somber style with the lower pitched notes conflicting with the higher overdubs. The style at which Evans can produce is one of true glory as he switches tones suddenly, making “Emily” become a much more angelic experience as he begins to move the pace in a progressive manner.
Evans can manipulate the track to become his own personal device for translation. He practically bleeds into the keys with each track, and his following, “Yesterdays” is no different. Through the sporadic styles that each dub adopts, Evans makes it sound like a symphony of multiple players without even leaving a single step. His play style is quite modernized for his time period, and the way that he bounces without much of a straight-forward rhythm is rather traditional of many jazz pianists. He stands out however for the way that he can use very little to no percussion on his releases to keep a rhythm, it is something that is mostly unheard of even with the likes of jazz heavyweights; Evans stands as a modern example of doing it for yourself with little interruption. Even as he reaches the tracks “Funny Man” and “Little Lulu”, Evans is in full swing with very little chance of slowing down. He moves rapidly on “Little Lulu” as if he had three sets of hands playing behind him.
The variation, the way that Evans can manipulate, and the way that he opens tones and moods through his music is just incredible. Further Conversations With Myself is a beautiful display of prowess behind a craft. Evans is not just a magnificent figure behind a single piano, but the many pianos that he commands like a maestro with complete control. His methods are slurred in moments, but the consistent frames of shift where he capitalizes in full force without sacrificing for the more melodic sections is genius. Bill Evans is a legendary musician that has a serious grasp on what makes the keys truly come alive, making Further Conversations With Myself more than just simply a jazz record.