Further Explorations

Bill Evans has been dead for more than three decades. His very best albums were recorded a half century ago, but the mark he made on jazz remains indelible. Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961) and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue—recorded in 1959 with Evans as pianist (as well as co-writer of two tracks)—both rank at the peak of jazz innovation. A score of tribute albums have been recorded since Evans died, but this double album, featuring a collaboration between Chick Corea and two of Evans’ most distinctive sidemen, is as good as it’s ever going to get. This is no museum piece, however. As the title suggests, it’s also a further exploration that weaves new threads into the familiar Evans tapestry. Even if you know the Evans oeuvre by heart, you’re going to hear that legacy in a new way here. It’s more than an homage; It’s like time traveling. Recorded at the Blue Note late last year, it sonically transports the listener to the jazz scene, circa 1960, but it comes bearing gifts from a new century, the creative and collaborative efforts of this super group jazz trio. Rich in atmospherics and mood, and equally rich in invention, Evans’ music resists getting old, and these players shine it up for longtime fans and new listeners alike.