- Number of Discs: 8
- Released: October 10, 2000
- Originally Released: 2000
- Label: Milestone
Description by OLDIES.com:
The Last Waltz
is a profoundly moving valedictory. These eight discs find Evans's poetic piano infused with a life-force that is palpable, even on the most brooding ballads. The terrible irony, of course, is that though we seldom heard this great artist in more expansive form than is so evident here, Evans (1929-1980) was near death, knew it and, consequently, was exceptionally driven to make every note count. This only adds to the poignancy of these, his final recordings.
The Las Waltz's 65 previously unreleased performances take in 32 different melodies, most of them standards, as well as nine Evans originals. The sessions stem from eight nights at a one-time San Francisco jazz landmark by the pianist's last outstanding trio, during what would prove to be the penultimate week of his life. This collection is additionally notable for its repertoire, amounting to a beautifully-charted Evans Retrospective. Buoyed and consistently challenged by the young but adept bass-drums team of Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera, who had joined him in 1978 and 1979, respectively, Evans rethinks, reconfigures, and revitalizes many of the touchstone pieces spanning his brilliant career.
Mojo (Publisher) - 4/01, p.106
"...With Bill as intense and inventive as at any time, it's hard not to hear this stupendous music as the grandest, most defiant of finales."
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Bill Evans Trio: Bill Evans (piano); Marc Johnson (bass); Joe LaBarbera (drums).
Recorded live at Keystone Korner, San Francisco, California from August 31-September 8, 1980. Includes liner notes by Todd Barkan and Derk Richardson.
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (2000, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
A moving finale to a remarkable career, The Last Waltz was recorded during a nine-night stand at San Francisco's legendary Keystone Korner one week prior to jazz piano icon Bill Evans' death at age 51. With the youthful rhythm team of Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera providing telepathic support, Evans turns in some of the most magnificent performances of his 25-year career. Aware that his days were numbered, he played with the creative drive and improvisational intensity with which he had long ago made his mark. This eight-disc set's 65 tracks include takes on 32 different tunes of which nine are Evans originals. Revisiting, reworking, and revitalizing many of his signature pieces, he finds new dimensions to explore in each. The set lists range from standards like "My Foolish Heart," "If You Could See Me Now," "Autumn Leaves," and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" to the pianist's own classics, "Turn Out the Stars," "Letter to Evan," and "Waltz for Debby." The lengthy solo piano introductions to six different renderings of Miles Davis' "Nardis" are breathtaking in their beauty. This is simply gorgeous music, powerful and moving, a fitting farewell from one of the finest. ~ Jim Newsom