Skip directly to content

Turn Out the Stars: The Final Village Vanguard Recordings, June 1980

  • Turn Out the Stars: The Final Village Vanguard Recordings, June 1980
    by

  • 518043

Track Listing

News & Reviews

Select any filter and click on Apply to see results

Buy Now

  • About This Album

    Though these extraordinary 1980 recordings were made only months before pianist Bill Evans’s untimely death on September 15, 1980, at the age of 51, they capture a beginning far more than an end. At the time of their initial release in 1996, jazz critic Gary Giddins hailed them as “an important find—the most lyrical of improvisers was revitalized by a new trio in his favorite jazz club.” Fellow Village Voice writer Will Friedwald concurred: “Evans is as irrepressibly romantic as ever on these live recordings, but at the same time there’s an aggression to his playing that makes these newly discovered documents some of the most exciting music of his career ... he proves that he can really tear into the keyboard and still sound like Bill Evans. Continually prodded by [bassist Marc] Johnson and [drummer Joe] LaBarbera even as he's inspiring them, this is tenderness supported by strength and even bite.” Evans had clearly found players to match his first trio from 20 years earlier, which had cut a landmark live recording at the Village Vanguard in 1961. That now-legendary lineup of bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motion was shattered by the tragic death of LaFaro in a car crash. A sense of history and a feeling of renewal inform these 1980 sessions, and they illustrates the serious chemistry between Evans and his young accompanists. As pianist and friend Hank Danko recalls in his liner-notes essay, “When the trio lit into its ensemble passages, the impact was not unlike that of a roaring big band. This exuberant, extroverted and joyful approach extended to most of the material played, with Bill seeming, at times, to be its most youthful member.”

    The performances on these six CDs—which feature both newly written originals and interpretations of the standards that Evans loved—were recorded on the evenings of June 4, 5, 6, and 8, 1980. Evans intended to release a double LP culled form these sessions, and he supervised the initial mixing and editing of the tapes. It would take more than 15 years before this material would become available, in an exhaustive, chronologically sequenced six-CD form, on the Warner Brothers label. This Nonesuch reissue contains the original packaging and liner notes, as well as the complete 1996 set.

    Turn Out the Stars was released at a time when many other posthumous Evans recordings, both official and bootleg, were surfacing on CD. This was the one that critics agreed was essential. The Los Angeles Times urged readers to experience the collection “as a series of complete club sets, with the music ebbing and flowing from piece to piece.” Evans, the newspaper noted, “was constantly in a state of quest, perpetually in search of an elusive musical goal, and—from his own point of view—never quite achieving it. The opportunity to share, even indirectly, in that quest is what, for the discerning listener, makes Evans’s music so endlessly intriguing.”

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Bill Evans, piano
    Marc Johnson, bass
    Joe LaBarbera, drums

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Recorded at the Village Vanguard, New York City, June 4-8, 1980
    Produced for release by Jeff Levenson and Bill Kirchner
    Executive Producer: Matt Pierson
    Production Coordinator: Dana Watson
    Original sessions produced by Helen Keane
    Original location recording, remix, and digital mastering: Malcolm Addey
    Original recording assistant: Jon Bobenko
    Recorded June 4, 5, 6, 8, 1980, at the Village Vanguard, NYC
    Originally released in 1996

    Art direction: Mark Larson

nonesuch's picture
on March 11, 2009 - 11:41am
Artist Name: 
Bill Evans
genre: 
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 04:00
DescriptionExcerpt: 

These intimate performances—featuring Evans, bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Joe LaBarbera—were recorded live at the Village Vanguard over four nights in June 1980, only months before the 51-year-old pianist's death. Initially destined for a double-LP, the sessions ultimately resurfaced 16 years later in this exhaustive, six-CD set. Jazz critic Gary Giddins has hailed the unearthed work as “an important find—the most lyrical of improvisers was revitalized by a new trio in his favorite jazz club.”

Description: 

Though these extraordinary 1980 recordings were made only months before pianist Bill Evans’s untimely death on September 15, 1980, at the age of 51, they capture a beginning far more than an end. At the time of their initial release in 1996, jazz critic Gary Giddins hailed them as “an important find—the most lyrical of improvisers was revitalized by a new trio in his favorite jazz club.” Fellow Village Voice writer Will Friedwald concurred: “Evans is as irrepressibly romantic as ever on these live recordings, but at the same time there’s an aggression to his playing that makes these newly discovered documents some of the most exciting music of his career ... he proves that he can really tear into the keyboard and still sound like Bill Evans. Continually prodded by [bassist Marc] Johnson and [drummer Joe] LaBarbera even as he's inspiring them, this is tenderness supported by strength and even bite.” Evans had clearly found players to match his first trio from 20 years earlier, which had cut a landmark live recording at the Village Vanguard in 1961. That now-legendary lineup of bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motion was shattered by the tragic death of LaFaro in a car crash. A sense of history and a feeling of renewal inform these 1980 sessions, and they illustrates the serious chemistry between Evans and his young accompanists. As pianist and friend Hank Danko recalls in his liner-notes essay, “When the trio lit into its ensemble passages, the impact was not unlike that of a roaring big band. This exuberant, extroverted and joyful approach extended to most of the material played, with Bill seeming, at times, to be its most youthful member.”

The performances on these six CDs—which feature both newly written originals and interpretations of the standards that Evans loved—were recorded on the evenings of June 4, 5, 6, and 8, 1980. Evans intended to release a double LP culled form these sessions, and he supervised the initial mixing and editing of the tapes. It would take more than 15 years before this material would become available, in an exhaustive, chronologically sequenced six-CD form, on the Warner Brothers label. This Nonesuch reissue contains the original packaging and liner notes, as well as the complete 1996 set.

Turn Out the Stars was released at a time when many other posthumous Evans recordings, both official and bootleg, were surfacing on CD. This was the one that critics agreed was essential. The Los Angeles Times urged readers to experience the collection “as a series of complete club sets, with the music ebbing and flowing from piece to piece.” Evans, the newspaper noted, “was constantly in a state of quest, perpetually in search of an elusive musical goal, and—from his own point of view—never quite achieving it. The opportunity to share, even indirectly, in that quest is what, for the discerning listener, makes Evans’s music so endlessly intriguing.”

ProductionCredits: 

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Recorded at the Village Vanguard, New York City, June 4-8, 1980
Produced for release by Jeff Levenson and Bill Kirchner
Executive Producer: Matt Pierson
Production Coordinator: Dana Watson
Original sessions produced by Helen Keane
Original location recording, remix, and digital mastering: Malcolm Addey
Original recording assistant: Jon Bobenko
Recorded June 4, 5, 6, 8, 1980, at the Village Vanguard, NYC
Originally released in 1996

Art direction: Mark Larson

Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

518043

Number of Discs in Set: 
6discs
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
Label: 
MP3
UPC: 
075597983159
Price: 
34.00
Label: 
CD
UPC: 
075597983173
MusicianDetails: 

MUSICIANS
Bill Evans, piano
Marc Johnson, bass
Joe LaBarbera, drums

[{"parent":{"title":"Get on the list !","body":" Get exclusive information about NONESUCH tour dates, video premieres and special announcements ","field_newsletter_id":"14075483","field_label_list_id":"6389157","field_display_rates":"-1","field_preview_mode":"false","field_lbox_height":"","field_lbox_width":"","field_toaster_timeout":"16000","field_toaster_position":"From Bottom","field_turnkey_height":"800"}}]

Performs On