Jazz Play Along: Laurie by Bill Evans (with sheet music)
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From May 1979 to September 1980, Laurie Verchomin was the mistress of pianist Bill Evans. After their meeting in Edmonton, Canada, in April 1979, Laurie and Bill struck up a correspondence relationship that quickly led to romance. Within a month and a half, Laurie, who was 22 at the time, visited Evans in New York. During the 10 months that followed, she visited him in several cities.
Then, in April 1980, Ella Laurie moved to New York to be with him romantically and soberly. The junkie pianist was sick and well aware that he was dying. Laurie shared this final period with him, a period during which many believe Evans created some of his strongest and most introspective work.
During this critical period, Laurie struggled with Bill’s chronic cocaine habit and deteriorating health. But she also respected Evans’s creative space at his New Jersey home and while accompanying him on grueling performing tours in the United States and abroad.
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For Laurie, these trips weren’t always romantic and musical adventures. They were generally overwhelmed by stress, stretching without rest, and enormous worry and fear. As creative as Evans was, he was relentlessly self-destructive and, she says, she considered beauty and ugliness to be inextricably linked.