How A Bill Lays Down The Law

bill evans

Derek at the Die Workwear! blog may be a style omnivore, but he still has a soft spot for the Ivy League Look. Yesterday he was on a bit of a trad kick. First he tweeted the following:


Then he posted a great gallery of images of jazz pianist Bill Evans, along with some remarks on Ivy. (I decided to do a post pointing to it before I saw that I’m quoted in it, so there.)

As for the headline here (not my best, admittedly), it refers to how Evans made many contributions to the jazz repertoire, perhaps most significantly a certain voicing which become known as “So What” chords. Here’s the tune, direct from 1959. — CC

7 Comments on "How A Bill Lays Down The Law"

  1. I’ve been on a Brubeck kick lately.

  2. Bags' Groove | August 20, 2016 at 5:09 pm |

    “The mode chosen for ‘So What’ was the Dorian – the white notes on the piano from D to D. After a brief introduction, composed by Evans and suspended in time, the bass went into rhythm, carrying the melodic content with a repeated two-bar motif. The piano’s (and then the band’s) answering ‘amen’ (or ‘so what’) riffs were built up largely in fourths, as opposed to to the thirds that are basic to the tonal system, as exemplified by Bobby Timmons’s comparable composition ‘Moanin”…” from “How My Heart Sings” by Peter Pettinger. Pettinger goes on to talk about the other contributions Evans made to “Kind of Blue”, his transcendent “Blue in Green” in particular, and my favourite track of all…but I’ve bored the non-initiated enough already.
    On a sartorial note, however, the suit Bill was wearing the first time I met him at Ronnie Scott’s club in the 60s influenced my garb thereafter. I even got an open-minded London tailor to make me a replica (I had most of the details down, but could scarcely describe the fabric) in dark blue hopsack, complete with “unpadded” shoulders, something unheard of in those days.
    Bill was a preeminent influence on me. As well as his jazz and his clothes, his liner notes on “Kind of Blue” even got me into Zen. But we’ll save that for later.

  3. @WFBjr
    Bob James, One Mint Julep on this end!

  4. “When people dress well, they play well….if we don’t sound good, at least we look good.”

    -Wynton Marsalis, artistic director Jazz at Lincoln Center [Brooks Bros. is the official clothier at JALC]

  5. Bags' Groove | August 22, 2016 at 3:01 am |

    So tell me CC, are you tickled pink with the little Limey for making your Bill Evans piece in any way worthwhile? The response put me in mind of what the legendary Milt Jackson, the Bags of my moniker, had to say about Japanese and European lovers of American jazz music.
    Anyway, looks suspiciously like it’s just you, me, and Bill, eh man? Incidentally, I too have Bill’s image on display, the one taken from across his piano, where he’s wearing sack jacket, polo, pantheons…and dangling cigarette. What an image. What a jazz pianist.

  6. Pleasing some of the people some of the time is the most one can hope for, even if you’re Bill Evans.

  7. Bags' Groove | August 22, 2016 at 12:19 pm |

    Bill was quoted as saying that his ego was being fed. But I don’t think he even had an ego. Oh how I still miss him…and Scott la Faro. They were the greatest.

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