Of pianist Bill Evans’ many live albums, At Town Hall … Vol. 1 has always been among his most delicate and elegant, writes Marc Myers for JazzWax.
Evans’ playing is taut and graceful, with lovely long improvisational lines and a snappy, fluid attack on the keyboard. The mix of standards and two originals — one was a suite in memory of his’ father, who died just three days earlier — also were neatly selected and assembled.
Despite playing New York club dates for 10 years, the Town Hall recording on February 21, 1966 was Evans’ first New York concert appearance. Evans played the first half of the Town Hall concert with just bassist Chuck Israels and drummer Arnie Wise, and the second half with an orchestra. The orchestra performed four Al Cohn-arranged tunes: “Willow Weep for Me” and “What Kind of Fool Am I” as well as Evans’ originals “Funkallero” and “Waltz for Debby.”
Bil Evans – piano, keyboards
Chuck Israels – bass
Arnold Wide – drums
Ernie Royal, Clark Terry and Bill Berry – trumpets
Bob Brookmeyer, Quentin Jackson and Bill Watrous – trombone
Bob Northern – French horn
Jerry Dodgion, George Marge, Eddie Daniels, Frank Petrovsky and Marvin Holladay – reeds