Smile With Your Heart: The Best of Bill Evans on Resonance brings together standout tracks from the company’s four sets of hitherto unheard material by the lyrical keyboard master: Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Gate (2012); Some Other Time: The Lost Session from the Black Forest (2016); Another Time: The Hilversum Concert (2017); and Evans in England (2019). Evans in England was issued for the first time as limited edition two-LP set on Record Store Day 2019, and 3 tracks from the album appear on Smile With Your Heart.
By the time trumpeter Bill Hardman made his leader debut for Savoy with this album, his grasp of the contemporary bop idiom had established him as a prolific and reliable sideman. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1933, he gigged with Tadd Dameron while a teenager, and recorded rhythm and blues with Tiny Bradshaw between 1952 and 1954. He played with Charles Mingus in 1956, along with alto sax Jackie McLean, and their friendship led to a McLean album introducing Bill, Jackies Pal, recorded that summer.
This is no ordinary jazz album. It’s not just that San Francisco vocalist Bill Kwan delves deeply into the songbook of one of the 20th century’s most popular female singers. Slated for release on April 16, 2021 No Ordinary Love: The Music of Sade captures an artist boldly redefining himself. Collaborating closely with a brilliant cast of New York players, he brings a confidently sensuous male sensibility to material defined by the Nigerian-born superstar, whose cool, understated style and regal persona has largely kept other artists from interpreting her songs.
Considering the legendary bassist Scott LaFaro released no albums as a leader and was known strictly as a sideman, that this recording exists is nothing less than a miracle, and an event in the annals of jazz. It consists of a brief program featuring five selections with the equally brilliant pianist Don Friedman and drummer Pete La Roca, a long rehearsal tape of "My Foolish Heart" with the Bill Evans Trio circa 1966, a 1966 interview about LaFaro with Evans, and a solo piano piece from Friedman done in 1985. So while only half of the disc faithfully features LaFaro's deep and honest bass playing, it is more than worthwhile to finally hear.
For this duet set from the 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival, Bill Evans alternates between acoustic and electric pianos while Eddie Gómez offers alert support and some near-miraculous bass solos. The audience is attentive and appreciative - as they should be, for the communication between the two masterful players (on such songs as "Milano," "Django," "I Love You," and their encore, "The Summer Knows") is quite special.
With his instrumental hit "Honky Tonk" in February 1956, Bill Doggett (born William Ballard Doggett) created one of rock's greatest instrumental tracks. Although it generated scores of offers to perform in rock & roll clubs throughout the United States, Doggett remained tied to the jazz and organ-based R&B that he had performed since the 1930s. Continuing to record for the Cincinnati-based King label until 1960, he went on to record for Warner Brothers, Columbia, ABC-Paramount and Sue. His last session came as a member and producer of an all-star jazz/R&B group, Bluesiana Hurricane in 1995.
This record is an opportunity to hear not only Bill Doggett on the organ and piano, but also the excellent Bubba Brooks on tenor sax, the guitarist Pete Mayes and the rarely heard singer Toni Williams.