Bill Evans – The Classical Side
Classical music requires discipline and extreme focus on detail. This includes a complete understanding of musical structure – scales, chords, and the ability to sight read music. Bill Evans affirmed the importance of structure in his interview with Marian McPartland.
As a child Bill Evans was emersed in a world of Russian classical music. He also studied other musical instruments for a broader comprehensive of music. For example, Evans learned to play the flute and studied classical music as part of his graduation from Southeastern University in Hammond, Louisiana. It is clear that Bill Evans had roots in classical music which he brought to his playing as a jazz pianist.
When you think of Bill Evans with a symphony, what comes to mind is the Verve recording: Bill Evans with Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claus Ogerman (1966). But Evans also linked up with other symphonies later in his career. Here are two examples that some Bill Evans fans may have missed: