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Bill Evans Everything Happens To Me - A Musical Biography
open our order pageKeith Shadwick
Backbeat Books, 2002
Paperback. 208pp. b&w illustrations

Bill EvansBill Evans (1929-1980) played a major role in the history of modern jazz. The New Jersey born pianist's groundbreaking ideas were so widely absorbed by his peers and subsequently by every new generation of musicians that he can be classed among the most influential figures in post-war jazz, ranking alongside Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Evans first came to wide attention during his six-month stay with the Miles Davis sextet in 1958 and his return the following year to help record Davis's classic album Kind of Blue. That same year saw Evans form the remarkable first version of his trio featuring bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Evans continued until 1962 as a hard-working freelancer, appearing in concert and on record with a variety of leaders including Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, John Lewis, Tony Scott, Oliver Nelson and George Russell.

Evans achieved near-iconic status worldwide when he worked with Creed Taylor at the Verve record company, from 1962 also tackling major projects and performing with a number of different ensembles - though the working trio remained his home base. But Evans's popular success coincided with a fresh tide of avant-garde creativity in jazz that would overtake him. His later musical explorations ran contrary to the jazz trends of the day, but as this book reveals it is in these ventures - just as much as his late trio work, both live and in the studio - that the full musical harvest of Evans's early promise is to be found.

Bill Evans: Everything Happens To Me is a detailed examination of an important jazz musician. Divided into 16 chapters, it begins by placing Evans in the context of jazz piano in the mid 1950s. A full examination of his career follows, with all the key trios, as well as acclaimed festival and concert appearances, famous recording sessions, and his relationships with various record labels - including Riverside, Verve, Fantasy, and Warner Bros. The book ends with Evans's tragically early death in September 1980.

KEITH SHADWICK trained as a saxophonist and has been writing and broadcasting about music for over 25 years. In addition to books, reviews and radio programmes about classical music, he has written for newspapers from The Financial Times to The Daily Mail, and magazines from The Wire to Jazzwise. His jazz books include The Illustrated Story of Jazz and Jazz Masters of Style, and he contributed to Masters of Jazz Saxophone. He has programmed jazz for Classic FM International and is a consultant to Music Choice Europe.

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Bill Evans by Peter Pettinger

other biographies of jazz pianists:

Oscar Peterson by Gene Lees
Raise Up Off Me the autobiography of Hampton Hawes
The Glass Enclosure the life of Bud Powell by Alan Groves and Alyn Shipton
Thelonious Monk by Thomas Fitterling
Keith Jarrett by Ian Carr

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