Bill Evans Time Remembered Documentary Film

The Profound Impact of Peace Piece

This one composition, Peace Piece by Bill Evans has touched so many people in its own unique way. Peace Piece is a free-form modal song that gave birth to new age music as well as influencing a wide range of musicians, artists and everyday people. 

“The one solo piece — Peace, Piece — forever altered the landscape. I could hear it in Marvin Gaye’s music years down the road; Little Anthony and the Imperials, jazz, soul, pop, they all owed Evans a firm handshake.”

Jazz Columnist Bill King

“What happened was that I started to play the introduction (Some Other Time), and it started to get much of its own feeling and identity that I just figured, well, I’ll keep going”

Bill Evans

“The improvisation starts simply over a gentle ostinato, which quickly fades into the background. Evans allows the fantasy that evolves from the opening motive (an inversion of the descending fifth in the ostinato) more freedom than he would in an improvisation tied to a changing accompaniment. He takes advantage of the ostinato as a unifying element against which ideas flower, growing lusher and more colorful as the piece unfolds. Polytonalities and cross rhythms increase in density as the ostinato undulates gently, providing a central rhythmic and tonal reference. The improvisation becomes increasingly complex against the unrelenting simplicity of the accompaniment, until, near the end, Evans gradually reconciles the two elements.” – Chuck Israel

It’s hard to measure and explain the impact of Peace Piece. The piece was the inspiration behind Miles Davis Kind of Blue. A number of paintings were inspired by Peace Piece:  

Heather Day
Johnny Hanna
Patrick Tobias

Finally, here are three non-pianist versions of Peace Piece: