Times Remembered: The Final Years of the Bill Evans Trio

Times Remembered: The Final Years of the Bill Evans Trio

Times Remembered: The Final Years of the Bill Evans Trio

Times Remembered: The Final Years of the Bill Evans Trio


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In the late 1970s legendary pianist Bill Evans, one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, was at the peak of his career. He revolutionized the jazz trio (bass, piano, drums) by giving each part equal emphasis in what jazz historian Ted Gioia called a “telepathic level” of interplay. It was an ideal opportunity for a sideman, and after auditioning in 1978, Joe La Barbera was ecstatic when he was offered the drum chair, completing the trio with Evans and bassist Marc Johnson.

In Times Remembered, La Barbera and co-author Charles Levin provide an intimate fly-on-the-wall peek into Evans’s life, critical recording sessions, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes of life on the road. Joe regales the trio’s magical connection, a group that quickly gelled to play music on the deepest and purest level imaginable. He also watches his dream gig disappear, a casualty of Evans’s historical drug abuse when the pianist dies in a New York hospital emergency room in 1980. But La Barbera tells this story with love and respect, free of judgment, showing Evans’s humanity and uncanny ability—even in his final days—to transcend physical weakness and deliver first-rate performances at nearly every show.

Times Remembered includes a foreword by Hal Miller, a discography of the band’s work, and numerous “breakout boxes” with reminiscences by musicians who knew Evans, interspersed with La Barbera’s memories of the same times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781574418446
Publisher: University of North Texas Press
Publication date: 10/20/2021
Series: North Texas Lives of Musician Series , #15
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,076,717
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

JOE LA BARBERA has performed with world-class jazz artists including Bill Evans, Woody Herman, Chuck Mangione, Michael Brecker and Toots Thielemans. From 1993 until 2021 he was on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts. He resides in Woodland Hills, California. CHARLES LEVIN has written for the Ventura County Star, DownBeat, Jazziz, and the Monterey Jazz Festival Program. He has a BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and played drums professionally for thirty years. He lives in Ventura, California.

Table of Contents

Foreword Hal Miller vii

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xv

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 A Child is Born 3

Chapter 2 Berklee (and Bill) 15

Chapter 3 Buddy's Buddy 21

Chapter 4 The Audition 37

Chapter 5 On the Road Again 47

Chapter 6 Lessons from Bill: The Joy of Discovery 67

Chapter 7 We Will Meet Again 73

Chapter 8 Hanging with Bill 1 79

Chapter 9 Birthday Blues and Buenos Aires 83

Chapter 10 Hanging with Bill 2 89

Chapter 11 Expectations 93

Chapter 12 Hanging with Bill 3 99

Chapter 13 The Paris Concert-Europe 1979 101

Chapter 14 Hanging with Bill 4 109

Chapter 15 The Village Vanguard: Turn Out the Stars 111

Chapter 16 Hanging with Bill 5 123

Chapter 17 Last Days: Europe, 1980 127

Chapter 18 Last Days: Stateside 135

Chapter 19 September 15, 1980 147

Chapter 20 Aftermath 153

Chapter 21 Epilogue-Re: Person I Knew 157

Appendix: Sorrow in Soho by Francois Lacharme 163

Essays Joe La Barbera 168

Itinerary Compiled by Tonino Vantaggiato 187

Bill Evans Trio Recordings 191

Endnotes 195

Bibliography 201

Index 207

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