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Top 25 icons in Jazz history

Bill Evans: The Top 25 icons in Jazz history

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Bill Evans: The Top 25 icons in Jazz history

More than 25 years after his death, Bill Evans remains one of the most important pianists in modern jazz. His introspective lyricism and subtle Western classical flourishes have echoes in a legion of fellow keyboard players. As a leader and composer, he introduced an influential, highly interactive approach to trio and small-group performances.

Born William John Evans on Aug. 16, 1929, in Plainfield, N.J., Evans was fascinated by music from an early age — as a toddler, he would eavesdrop on his older brother’s piano lessons. By the time he was 6, he was taking lessons himself and displaying an uncanny ability to read and absorb music.

Evans followed his brother to Southeastern Louisiana University. He left college for a brief stint in the Army, and in 1955 enrolled at New York City’s Mannes College of Music. The New York jazz scene allowed him to hone his craft and mingle with pianists such as Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Lennie Tristano, and George Shearing. Evans soon landed a recording deal with Riverside Records, and his debut album (New Jazz Conceptions) came out in September 1956.

More than 25 years after his death, Bill Evans remains one of the most important pianists in modern jazz. His introspective lyricism and subtle Western classical flourishes have echoes in a legion of fellow keyboard players. As a leader and composer, he introduced an influential, highly interactive approach to trio and small-group performances.

Born William John Evans on Aug. 16, 1929, in Plainfield, N.J., Evans was fascinated by music from an early age — as a toddler, he would eavesdrop on his older brother’s piano lessons. By the time he was 6, he was taking lessons himself and displaying an uncanny ability to read and absorb music.

Evans followed his brother to Southeastern Louisiana University. He left college for a brief stint in the Army, and in 1955 enrolled at New York City’s Mannes College of Music. The New York jazz scene allowed him to hone his craft and mingle with pianists such as Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Lennie Tristano, and George Shearing. Evans soon landed a recording deal with Riverside Records, and his debut album (New Jazz Conceptions) came out in September 1956.

The Best of Bill Evans

Tracklist:

00:00:00​ Minority 00:05:22​ Young and Foolish 00:11:12​ Lucky to Be Me 00:14:49​ Night and Day 00:22:02​ Epilogue, Pt. 1 00:22:41​ Tenderly 00:26:12​ Peace Piece 00:32:47​ What Is There to Stay?

00:37:37​ Oleo 00:41:43​ Epilogue, Pt. 2 00:42:19​ Come Rain, or Come Shine 00:45:40​ Autumn Leaves 00:51:05​ Witchcraft

00:55:39​ When I Fall in Love 01:00:35​ Peri’s Scope 01:03:49​ What Is This Thing Called Love? 01:08:25​ Spring Is Here

01:13:31​ Some Day My Prince Will Come 01:18:25​ Blue in Green

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Bill Evans Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

Bill Evans was born on August 16th, 1929. He earned his fame for being a brilliant jazz pianist. During his youth years, he got his first piano training from his mother. He later went on to school in Southeastern Louisiana University before joining Mannes School of Music. At the school of music, his area of focus was in composition.

He migrated to the New York City in 1955 and collaborated with George Russell, a bandleader. Three years later, he joined a group of six members headed by Miles Davis. The band group recorded Kind of Blue which was released in 1959. This album went on to become a commercial success while being given credits for leading best-selling jazz album ever. 

Early Life

Bill Evans was born on August 16th, 1929. His place of birth was in Plainfield, New Jersey. His parents were Mary and Harry Evans. Evans faced a difficult time when he was young as his father was an alcohol addict. Aside from this, he practiced gambling and frequently abused Evans’s mother. Evans had an elder brother named Harry. 

Evans began his piano lessons when he was only six years old. Together with his brother, Harry, they took piano lessons from Helen Leland. When he was aged 7, he took lessons for other musical instruments including violin, piccolo, and flute. These instruments would later have a profound impact on his expertise on the keyboard. With the experience that he had gained by the time he was 13 years old, Evans had the confidence to play in big events such as weddings. His pay rate was only $1 for an hour of play at this period. 

Career 

After completing his studies at Southeastern Louisiana University in 1950, Bill Evans continued with his performances in different concerts. Around this period, he also worked with one of the bands headed by Herbie Field. He went on a tour with them before later receiving a draft notice to join the army. He served in the army for three years. After this service, he was back to the city of New York where he could easily pursue his music career. He also joined Mannes College of Music where he studied musical composition for three semesters. At this time, he performed in small gigs including weddings and dances.

With time, he landed on better opportunities which gave him the advantage of showcasing his talent. 

During the 1950s, Evans partnered with a band headed by Miles Davis which consisted of six members. After playing for the band for some time, he joined the group in 1958. A year later, Kind Kind of Blue was recorded. This album recording was released in August the same year. It was a commercial success with the credits of being the best-selling album. 

Personal Life

Bill Evans tied the knot with Nenette Zazzara in 1973. Their marriage lasted for seven years and ended in 1980. The couple had a son named Evan. 

Death

Bill Evans passed away on September 15th, 1980. He was aged 51 at the time of his death.