i've recently been listening to bill evans which in turn i bought "the complete vanguard recordings" and "everyone digs bill evans". my question is: is there a bill evans cd that every serious jazz pianist should own?  

right now i prefer his older works to the later ones.
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i like "you must believe in spring"
i'll second that and also suggest:

since we met
alone again
imho, you can't go wrong with bill evans, i'll tell you some of the ones i really really like:

- but beautiful with getz
- sunday at the village vanguard (with scott la faro)
- the "turn out the stars" collection (his last recordings) with mark johnson
- know what i mean (with canonball adderley)

you must believe in spring is one i take out when i have guests. it should have been called "everyone digs bill evans" because everyone digs it.
"portrait in jazz" is easily the most representative of his sound at its best.

however, "bill evans at town hall" captures the "second" sound that evolved out of his work with eddie gomez and chuck israels.  you will hear the distinction.  the song, "solo in memory of his father" might be my absolute favorite track out of his entire discography.

for the "third" and final sound of evans, check out the paris concerts, both 1, and 2.
they showcase his trio with mark johnson and joe labarbara.  along with a new emphasis on technical virtuosity (perhaps due to the cocaine?), evans displays an uncanny ability for rhythmic displacement.

his sound never got sloppy at any time.  listen to "new conversations: monologue, dialogue, and trialogue" and hear the technical precision combined with a beautiful emotional expression.

hope this helps.
dear lc it would be hard for me to point to a specific album of bill evans as his musical ideas changed somewhat although his playing remained super.perhaps you can listen to the beginning years then middle and last which were very very driving and emotional. as isee it he remains the greatest
the one with the brown cover.
his first album, "new jazz conceptions."  the lively version of "i love you" that kicks off the album convinced me to give evans a second chance. i prefer early evans (his first three albums and the miles davis "58 sessions" album) to vanguard and beyond.

to be brutally honest, on his early work he's not as lethargic as he was on methadone, and not as hyper as is he was when he doing coke later in life.
my problem with bill evans when i first started listening to him was that i found he always played in the middle c area of the piano(and  i that time i didn't know why). i thought all his songs sounded similar because of it. i prefered to hear pianists that used the entire keyboard like jarrett, peterson and even oliver jones. i also found that most jazz pianists with a classical background, unlike evans, used the entire keyboard at their disposal until i learned of his jazz voicings. but so far i enjoy his early works and i think i'll pick up "you must believe in spring" next.
dear l c; i beg to differ with you as far as bill evan`s classical back ground i have read many time that he had a great  knowledge of classical music. i think his sound proves it. thx charlie
sorry if you misunderstood me charlp88. i meant to say that since bill does have an extensive classical background, i was surprised that he never used the entire keyboard like the rest of them. that was until i learned about his unique voicings.
i must admit it though, his sound is different. he has a sort of chopinesque sound about his playing. even "peace piece" reminds me of chopin's "bercceuse in d flat major".
dear l c yes indeed his sound was unique, as far as moving his hands, i saw him many times in person in the village , and got as close to him as possible. the movement of his hands was so minimal ,that i could not believe the sounds eminating from the keyboard , incredible
also, a non-definitive but great supplementary recording is bill's appearance on mcpartland's piano jazz.  there's a lot of beautiful unaccompanied playing by him as well as some illuminating discussion of his musical style and great duets with marian.  i was blown away by how lovely his playing and tone was, and i'm not someone who necessarily notices that normally.
oh and i briefly mentioned it earlier, but i also like the '58 sessions and live at newport albums with miles, as they're good examples of evans playing "straight" jazz with the group.  (kind of blue, well, that should go without saying.)
concerto for billy the kid (2 takes) with george russell shows that be could do the bop stuff as well as the impressionistic reworkings of standards.

i bought "you must believe in spring" and this cd is awesome.  
i have a new found respect for bill evans after hearing this cd.
his playing is impeccable and the music is very emotional. i think i'm starting to find out what all the fuss is about concerning his playing, his touch and his voicings.
beautiful music.
dear last  welcome aboard the bandwagon. the more you listen the more you will be amazed at --- the sound ---the rhythmic patterns and the over all beauty of him.nobody like him,, good listening  charlie
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