As the name indicates, Bill Evans was the man behind the music, and he was one of the greatest pianists of all time. Bill Evans was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 23, 1930, to parents who were jazz musicians and a homemaker.
Bill Evans is one of the leading prolific jazz musicians. He was a pianist, composer, arranger, band leader, and record producer.
Further, his mother, who played piano in her spare time, greatly influenced him. From the age of five, Bill started playing the piano. He didn't have any formal art training. Instead, he learned how to read music by reading the scores of famous classical musicians.
He was a big fan of jazz music, and he composed some of the most famous jazz standards such as "Walkin'," "Nightfall," and "Airegin."
More so, Bill was introduced to the jazz scene at 11. He received a copy of The Jazz Book from his father. His father would record the jazz bands he heard on the radio and play them to him.
After growing up and being exposed to the jazz scene, he began practising every day, trying to imitate the different instruments in the songs.
However, at 13, he started his studies at the Berklee School of Music. It was there that he met George Russell and John Lewis. In 1949, Bill joined George Russell's quartet. As a result of disputes between the two musicians, the collaboration lasted only a short time.
In 1950, Bill joined the Modern Jazz Quartet, where he met the legendary Miles Davis. In those days, there was only one white person in the group. However, it took a little while for him to learn the basics of the style and become a respected member of the group.
He performed with the group for more than ten years and left the group in 1961 to pursue a solo career. He released an album named "Blue in Green," which won him the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist in 1962.
In addition, he formed the Bill Evans Trio in 1962 and released "My Favourite Things." The album became an instant hit and helped the trio gain fame and recognition. He remained the leader of the trio until he died in 2007.
Bill Evans also wrote the lyrics of "Walkin'," "Nightfall," and "Airegin." The Heartbreak Kid was his first feature film as a composer, as well.
His career ended in 1982 when he contracted Guillain–Barré syndrome, a disease affecting the nerves and muscles. It took him six months to recover.
He died of liver cancer in 2007 but never stopped playing and recording.
All in all, Bill Evans was a major influence on 20th-century music. In addition to inspiring artists and music lovers, he served as a role model for many people.
Over to You
To sum up, Bill Evans was one of the world's most prominent pianists. Among the first musicians to integrate jazz and classical influences into their music was him. He influenced several other pianists and jazz musicians like Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, and Paul Bley.
Moreover, he was a great musician, humanitarian, and philanthropist. He raised more than $10 million to fight the disease that claimed his life.