Orrin Keepnews was instrumental in producing the early recordings of Bill Evans. According to Keepnews, a good producer does not manage and shape the music that gets played. The producer seeks a spontaneous performance through a natural and relaxed environment, producing the highest level of creativity. This is often accomplished through “live” recordings of a jazz performance. This is exactly what happened with the live recordings of Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard. And this is the very reason why you see so many jazz recordings produced from live sessions.
“Our [the jazz producers’] job is to create what is best described as ‘realism’: the impression and effect of being real.” – Orrin Keepnews
Keepnews was a life-long New Yorker, born in the Bronx in 1923. He is a graduate of Columbia University and co-founded Riverside Records in the 1950’s. The label went bankrupt shortly after the death of the other co-founder, Bill Grauer. Keepnews passed away at the age of 91 on March 1, 2015.