Elemental Music To Release Limited Three-LP Set Treasures: Solo, Trio and Orchestra Recordings from Denmark (1965-1969), Featuring Previously Unreleased Bill Evans Recordings from Denmark, As Record Store Day Exclusive on April 22
Dazzling Package, Due on CD and Digitally on April 28, Collects 1965-69 Trio, Solo, and Orchestral Performances Captured Live and In the Studio, Unheard Since Their Original Radio Broadcasts
Deluxe Set Includes Overview by Evans Authority Marc Myers, New Interviews with Trio Members Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell, Danish Musicians Palle Mikkelborg and Alex Riel and Producer Peter Larsen, and Pianists Matthew Shipp and Ran Blake
Elemental Music is proud to announce an exciting and diverse new collection of previously unreleased recordings by jazz piano master Bill Evans, Treasures: Solo, Trio and Orchestra Recordings from Denmark (1965-1969), a limited 180-gram three-LP set mastered by Bernie Grundman, as a Record Store Day exclusive on April 22. The album will be issued as a two-CD set and digitally on April 28.
The collection, which compiles music that has gone unheard since its debut on Danish radio, succeeds Elemental’s widely praised 2021 Evans set Behind the Dikes: The 1969 Netherlands Recordings. It is the tenth collection of hitherto unheard music by the pianist authorized by the Bill Evans Estate and produced by Zev Feldman, a partner in Elemental and the award-winning music archeologist known as “the Jazz Detective.”
Feldman says, “Treasures comes as a result of the great investigative work of my co-producers, Jordi Soley and Carlos Agustín Calembert of Elemental Music, who spent a tremendous amount of time scouring various Danish archives for lost tapes. None of these recordings has ever been released before. They are being heard for the very first time since the original radio broadcasts that aired in the 1960s.”
The diverse trove of unearthed material, drawn from the private collection of Norwegian jazz musician Ole Matthiessen, includes inspired 1965 performances by Evans in a trio format with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and drummers Alan Dawson and Alex Riel; stunning 1965 solo studio recordings for Danish radio; an ambitious 1969 orchestral suite arranged and conducted by trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, featuring the pianist with his working trio mates, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, and the Royal Danish Symphony Orchestra and the Danish Radio Big Band; and 1966 and 1969 trios with Riel, Gomez, and Morell.
As with all previous issues of unreleased Evans produced by Feldman, Treasures will be complemented by a deluxe booklet. Illustrated with previously unpublished photographs from the Danish tours by Jan Persson, the package will include an overview by Evans scholar Marc Myers; new interviews with Mikkelborg, Gomez, Morell, Riel, and Danish producer/discographer Peter Larsen; appreciations from pianists Matthew Shipp and Ran Blake; and biographical sketches of Pedersen and Dawson by John Koenig.
Myers says of this fertile period, “On this set, we hear Evans in 1965, 1966, and 1969 in different locations in Denmark, with varied ensembles that feature a range of superb sidemen. The joy of this set is that it offers us every type of performance configuration during an ambitious and poetic phase of his career, ranging from solo and trio recordings to orchestral interpretations. All document Evans’s steady ascent as a premier global jazz figure.”
Mikkelborg — renowned for his work as composer, arranger, and producer of Miles Davis’ late masterpiece Aura (1989) — says of his collaboration with the pianist, “Little did I know that in 1969 Per Møller Hansen, a Danish Radio music producer and a Bill Evans fan, would call me and ask if I would like to arrange and conduct a TV project with Bill Evans to be entitled Waltz for Debby. ‘Would I? My goodness! I would love to!’…I am so grateful that my suite is now available to a wider audience, and I give thanks to my guardian angel for these stellar moments.”
Producer Larsen, a veteran of Danish Radio Broadcasting, says of the remarkable orchestral date, “Palle Mikkelborg immediately captured the essence of Bill’s harmonic extensions. His arrangements were just great. Bill enjoyed it, obviously. I was there in the studio when they rehearsed and when they recorded. That was very, very, exhilarating to watch.”
Another unexpected member of Evans’ musical team during his Danish sojourns was drummer Riel, who was a regular member of Mikkelborg’s combo. He says, “I’m not sure how Bill knew of me back in 1965. All I know is that he asked for me when he came to Europe. By that time I’d already been working with a lot of American musicians like Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon in Copenhagen, so maybe he had heard of that. I couldn’t believe that I was going to play with the world’s greatest pianist. It was an honor and a privilege and it turned out to be a great pleasure too!”
Gomez and Morell, who worked together with Evans from 1968 to 1974, both share fond memories of their time in Copenhagen. Gomez says, “When I listen to recordings of the trio from this period — not to listen to myself, but to listen to what Bill was doing — it drives home the reality of just how wonderful, how great he was and what a high level he was at. He was just incredible.” Morell adds, “Copenhagen was like a dream. It was the most awesome situation for me at that time, at my age and at my time and place in the music business. It was euphoric. Here I am going to Europe playing with Bill Evans and Eddie Gomez. It was a thrill. It was absolutely wonderful.”
Shipp and Blake, both acknowledged masters of the piano, reflect on the enduring heft of Evans’ recorded legacy in their encomia.
“When you think of a piano trio it’s impossible not to think of Bill Evans, just impossible,” Shipp says. “He takes the whole space. He defines what a modern piano trio is. So on one level maybe Bud Powell might be my favorite trio pianist, but Bill Evans is just up front in the pantheon, defining the possibilities of a jazz trio or even the definition of a jazz trio. He’s up there.”
Blake notes, “Bill Evans was like a living example of French impressionism: the sounds the sea, the west coast of France, the richness of sounds he nurtured. His interaction with other musicians was extraordinary, the incredible ideas that he gives.”