© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.
On September 29, 2017, BFM Jazz released an audio CD entitled Live at The Casino Sanremo: Kind of Bill [B 074 HCYL 22] which features the talents of pianist Dado Moroni, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Joe LaBarbera.
Anyone familiar with the career of the late pianist Bill Evans certainly knows about Eddie’s 12 year association with him and the fact that Joe played in Bill last trio before Bill’s death in 1980.
But it would also be true that anyone familiar with Bill Evans’ style of playing with its lyrical and lush voicings, rhythmic displacement and moody and introspective harmonies would be rather surprised to find Dado as the pianist in a tribute album to Bill.
Dado is a hard bop oriented, funky swinger who’s perfectly happy in a straight-ahead, pulsating and hard-charging environment.
Bill and Dado both play piano, but to my ears, all comparisons end there as their style of playing the instrument is so markedly different.
Gene Lees once asked Bill Evans, as both were entering the London House in Chicago, IL to hear pianist Oscar Peterson’s trio, why Oscar didn’t incorporate Bill’s unique approach to voicing chords in his playing?
Bill replied: “It wouldn’t fit with what he was doing.”
When I think of the styles of Dado and Bill, “It wouldn’t fit with what he’s doing,” immediately comes to mind.”
But Dado did find a way to make it work and the key is in the CD’s title.
Kind of Bill refers to compositions usually associated with Bill throughout his 25 year career rather than original compositions by Bill. The sole exception is the trio’s performance of Bill’s original composition - Funkallero.
Dado, Eddie and Joe each also contribute an original to the nine track selections that make up the CD and these are evocative of Bill Evans’ way with Jazz improvisation.
The media release that accompanied the recording explains it this way:
“Kind of Bill describes perfectly the intent of the project to capture the music and magic of famed pianist Bill Evans. Created by pianist Dado Moroni, this album features the Grammy award winner bassist Eddie Gomez (Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie) and Evans' drummer Joe La Barbera. Kind Of Bill is an homage which doesn't strictly include Bill's compositions. But also includes songs that under Evans' fingers became entirely new, and original songs by Moroni, Gomez and La Barbera.
Bill Evans has not been with us since September 15, 1980, a very sad day for musicians and music fans. However his notes and his magic are very much alive and this project wants to celebrate this aspect of his world: the never-ending life of his message and legacy.
Because of Evans’ incredible talent and ideas, he needed special partners to develop that wonderful sound that characterized his vision of music, people that, with their fantastic musicality and sensitivity, were able to bring that vision to life…to create that unforgettable, beautiful “Bill Evans Sound.” Eddie and Joe LaBarbera were able to make such contributions.
KIND OF BILL [written by Joe La Barbera] describes perfectly the intent of the project created by pianist Dado Moroni, who has never hidden his love for Evans, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Joe La Barbera.”
Dado, Eddie and Joe kicked off the 2016 summer Jazz festivals in Italy with a performance of this material at the Casa del Jazz in Roma, before traveling to the Casino di Sanremo in San Remo, Italy where on July 1, 2016, they recorded the music for the new CD in a live performance.
They reprised the Kind of Bill project for a performance at the Albenga Jazz Festival on July 4, 2017 where the following video was made.