Newly Discovered, Completely Unreleased, and Never-Bootlegged 1976 Bill Evans Trio Concert Is Musical Manna: On a Monday Evening Features Exceptional Sound, Liner Notes, Gatefold Packaging
Archival jazz treasures previously unknown to exist don't come along often, but when they do, these rare gems excite connoisseurs, inspire vital conversations, and radiate with borderline-spiritual effects. Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane's At Carnegie Hall, Bill Evans' Some Other Time, and Erroll Garner's Ready Take One all come to mind as matchless releases filled with brilliant performances nobody realized lingered in vaults until being discovered by happenstance. Thrillingly, Bill Evans' On a Monday Evening, recorded by two college-aged deejays, Larry Goldberg and James Farber, who interviewed the pianist on the radio, can be added to that short list.
Transcending the stature of a traditional reissue, On a Monday Evening is a completely unreleased and never-bootlegged concert recording of the Evans trio featuring bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund. Played at Madison, Wisconsin's sold-out Union Theater on November 15, 1976, the show captures the virtuoso performing to the peak of his abilities. Mixing contemporary pieces with several key originals, Evans demonstrates the timeless vitality of piano-trio jazz given over to small gestures, soul-searching motifs, and sensitive dialogues. His signature rhythmic "singing" melodic lines and classically inspired impressionistic touches convey grace and suggestion. Relaxed, lyrical, and refined, Evans' band welcomes subtle interplay and stresses mood.
In his astute liner notes, Grammy Award-winning writer Ashley Kahn says, “The Evans/Gomez/Zigmund union lasted just two years—Gomez being the first to depart in ’77—yet it still stands as one of the pianist’s most distinctive and memorable groups. On A Monday Evening is a rare- high-fidelity snapshot of that association. As Zigmund points out, ‘There’s really nothing like that, a definitive live recording of that trio. So it’s great that there’s finally an official recording out that represents our live side.’”
The set list includes three Evans originals, “Sugar Plum,” “Time Remembered,” and “T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune),” along with “Up with the Lark,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Minha (All Mine),” “All of You,” and “Some Other Time.” Even though it was recorded when jazz was being taken into an era of electric fusion, there was still a large amount of attention being paid to acoustic players. In a radio interview conducted then by Farber and Goldberg, Evans said, “I just require for my own pleasure that music somehow touch me somewhere along the line and use the musical language in a way that speaks to me in some really human terms.”
You can hear it all unfold in exquisite detail on Concord's 180g vinyl LP, which presents the program with exceptional clarity, immediacy, and perspective. Plangent Processes handled the state-of-the-art tape transfer and audio restoration. Historian Kahn penned the liner notes, which feature added insight from Gomez and Zigmund. Deluxe gatefold jacket packaging complete a release whose historical significance is trumped only by the music making within. This is not to be missed. Pull up a chair and enjoy your ticket to Union Theater. Evans and company are about to hit the stage.
"On a Monday Evening is a rare, high-fidelity snapshot...[It's] an encouraging message from one jazz generation to the next that piano trio music still mattered in a day known for louder sounds and larger gestures...and that piano jazz, of the kind that Evans had helped invent, was alive and enduringly popular, enough to fill a 1,000-seat venue like the Wisconsin Union Theater."
– Ashley Kahn
"It's funny listening to this music. I really like the way Bill sounds – he has a certain kind of drive, a particular kind of energy that I really like and I think Eliot and I responded in kind."
– Eddie Gomez
"In a certain way we were going back to an earlier time with the trio at that point. I think that aspect of Bill's music had been missing in recent years. His music had evolved again, and with us it was more a return to original values, the kind of searching that he was doing with the first trio."
– Eliot Zigmund