Twin Bill: Two Piano Music of Bill Evans
An album intended as an homage to Bill Evans can be a bit of tricky business, given how dissociative Evans’ playing could be. There is not a single player that one might mistake for him, and few that can be recognized faster. This provides an opportunity of sorts for Alan Pasqua, as dedicated an Evans listener as there is, and one who has mastered an Evansian sensibility: a need to inhabit a piece of music rather than subject it to the strictures of beat and meter.
That sense of freedom lends this disc a plucky charm that is bolstered by Pasqua’s warm, welcoming and almost beckoning tone. The two-piano approach underscores the architectural quality of Evans’ compositions, something one tends not to notice given how ethereal they often sound, with melodies that might float away and disappear as others waft in to replace them.
“Gloria’s Step” makes a fine counterpoint to the familiar Sunday at the Village Vanguard version. It has a touch more grit here, like it’s been scuffed up to remove some of that earlier brightness. Conversely, “Turn Out the Stars” pulls off the neat trick of sashaying with a funky little rhythmic motif that has a Latin inflection, as though Evans’ music has been called out to the dance floor. A respite is worked into the proceedings with a most unexpected rendition—baseball-themed cover art aside—of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It is a celebration of being where one most wants to be—or, in the case of this album, playing the music one most admires.