Jazz CD Reviews

Alan Pasqua, pianos – Twin Bill – Two-Piano Music of Bill Evans – BFM Jazz

Alan Pasqua hits a home run.

Published on October 17, 2011

Alan Pasqua, pianos – Twin Bill – Two-Piano Music of Bill Evans – BFM Jazz

Alan Pasqua, pianos – Twin Bill – Two-Piano Music of Bill Evans – BFM Jazz 61:13 ****:

One of the icons of what might be classified as post-modern jazz piano was Bill Evans. With his articulate expression, unique harmonic intervals, and arresting phrasings, he was probably the most significant jazz pianist since Bud Powell. With this concept album, Alan Pasqua demonstrated that he was prepared to beard the lion in his den.

Bill Evans was an extremely creative composer and his pieces reflected his playing style; introspective with thoughtful single-note lines.  Although Pasqua can’t be faulted in his choice of Evans material, he has decided to exclude a couple of his better known compositions such as “Blue In Green” and Waltz For Debbie” for a pair of equally well-known tunes that are associated with Evans, but not penned by him, namely the Miles Davis tune “Nardis” and Scott La Faro’s “Gloria’s Step”. The idea behind the project focuses on Pasqua playing a duet with himself on one piano over two channels. The result makes for compelling listening.

Pasqua’s playing is not a copy cat of the Evans style, but a re-imagining of the compositions to reflect the composer’s intentions. Alan is mindful of the capaciousness and harmonious structure of the Evans compositions whether it be “Turn Out The Stars”, “Funkallero” or “Interplay”. On “Nardis” he devises an expansive cheerful approach that works well, and on “Gloria’s Step” there is an adventurous reflection on the Evans influence. “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” has no ties to Evans, but it is a tip of the cap to Pasqua’s passion for baseball. The final cut on the disc is Pasqua’s own composition “Grace,” and it is a sensitive yet self-effacing piece.

Alan Pasqua has the right credentials, and is well-known on the West Coast, but has yet to develop a more widespread robust following. This album should go a long way to changing that awareness.

TrackList: Very Early; Nardis; Time Remembered; Gloria’s Step; Turn Out The Stars; Funkallero; Take Me Out To The Ball Game; Interplay; Walkin’ Up; Vindarna Sucka Uti Skogarna; Grace.

—Pierre Giroux




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