Bill Evans was in his comfort zone for most of his 1970s recordings, playing standards and his own compositions with his trio. But many of his fans looked back with fondness at his works from the 1950s when he had been challenged by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, George Russell, Cannonball Adderley, Charles Mingus and other great musical minds in settings not of Evans's own choosing. Symbiosis, a long orchestral composition by Claus Ogerman from 1974, is a throwback to that earlier period. Evans has his familiar friends, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morrell, in tow, but the music is adventurous and a radical departure from what the pianist normally played in concert. The result is one of the neglected masterpieces of the decade, and a high point in Evans's discography. Ogerman contributes one of the most interesting extended works in the jazz repertoire, and Evans plays at top form. Yet for all its virtues, Symbiosis quickly disappeared from the record stores after its initial release, and it has been years since I have seen a copy anywhere. But thanks to the world of Internet shopping and digital downloads it is now accessible again -- and is a must-have for jazz fans who are not familiar with this stellar work.
Personnel: Mel Davis, Johnny Frosk, Bernie Glow, Marky Markowitz, Victor Paz, Marvin Stamm (tp) Paul Faulise, Urbie Green, Tom Mitchell (tb) Ray Alonge, Jim Buffington, Earl Chapin, Peter Gordon, Al Richmond, Gruce Tilotson (frh) Don Butterfield (tu) Don Hmmond, Hubert Laws, Bill Stapin (fl) Phil Bodner, George Marge (ob) Wally Kane, Don McCourt (basn) Danny Bank, Ron Janelly (cl) Jerry Dodgion, Harvey Estrin, Walt Levinsky, Phil Woods (sax) David Nedien (concertmaster) Bill Evans (p, el-p) Eddie Gomez (b) Marty Morell (d) Doug Allan, Dave Carey, George Devens, Ralph MacDonald (per) Claus Ogerman (arr, cond)
01 1st Movement (Moderato, Various Tempi): a
02 1st Movement (Moderato, Various Tempi): b
03 1st Movement (Moderato, Various Tempi): c
04 2nd Movement (Largo, Andante, Maestoso, Largo): a
05 2nd Movement (Largo, Andante, Maestoso, Largo): b