Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bill Evans - Camp Fortune, Ottawa, 1974

From the CBC Archives...

In summer 1974, Bill Evans, Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell played a show, or maybe a series of them, just outside Ottawa, and had them professionally recorded. If you're really a Evans head (and who isn't?), chances are you're familiar with the Milestone LP these sessions produced: Blue In Green.

I'd argue it's one of Evans high-water marks, with his second-best trio in full flight and nearly telepathic after years of gigging together. For me, it's right up there with Waltz For Debbie and Portrait In Jazz, my other two faves of Evans. But here's the thing: there was far more music recorded that night (nights?). And I've got a bunch of it here for you.

The story as I best know it: Radio-Canada (the Francophone wing of the CBC) recorded a set or two for broadcast: that's a copy of the transcription disc up there. I guess individual stations could broadcast it at their leisure, so long as they did it within a certain period of time, after which the discs were either supposed to be destroyed or returned to Radio-Canada. I guess some weren't. And over the years, this radio set has been extensively bootlegged, right up to a really sketchy issue on Gambit that included some other stuff and pretended it was legit. Remind me to ask Sue Mingus what she thinks of them sometime.

Anyway, the magic that's on Blue In Green is here also: from Gomez's tasty solo on "Elsa" to Evans stately introduction on "Sugar Plum" to the way they all interact on "A Sleepin' Bee," this is one of Evans best bands having an A+ evening. It's one of my faves and I'm presenting it complete with cool French voiceovers.


M.D. Milner said...

geronimo said...

Thanks a lot M.D. Milner.. Living in Hull (Ottawa suburb, on the French side) near Camp Fortune,the place of the recording by Radio-Canada, I'm very thankful for this recording I wasn't aware of.

M. Milner said...

No problem, Geronimo! It's great, one of my fave Evans performances

frightwig said...

I'm glad to see this era of the Bill Evans trio get their due, here.

For many years, I had the impression that Evans peaked with LaFaro and Motian, then just muddled along until the last year of his life, when inspiration struck him again. I really missed out while I believed this lie, but in the last few years I've belatedly discovered that a lot of my favorite Bill Evans comes from the Eddie Gomez period. I think they really hit their stride from '72-77; the Paris and Netherlands shows in Feb. '72, Autumn Leaves, The Tokyo Concert, The Sesjun Sessions, Half Moon Bay, The '74 Vanguard records, Symbiosis, Montreux III, Switzerland 1975, Paris 1976, Koln 1976, You Must Believe in Spring, etc. All brilliant performances that don't get proper attention.

I also like some of his records from '64-71, and the '68 Hilversum concert w/ Jack DeJohnette that came out last year rates near the top for me--but something about this period in the '70s really strikes a chord in me.

Thanks very much.