Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby (Riverside, 1962)
The only real question when it comes to Bill Evans and a list like this is: Sunday at the Village Vanguard or its successor Waltz for Debby? Honestly, it’s a toss-up, but we’re going with the latter because Sunday shone a brighter spotlight on a single member of the trio, Scott LaFaro. Given that the supremely gifted bassist died in a car accident just 10 days after the 1961 Village Vanguard dates that yielded both Sunday and Waltz, it’s not surprising that Evans, drummer Paul Motian, and producer Orrin Keepnews would want to accentuate LaFaro’s contributions on the former album, but the latter presents a more equal picture of the trio. Evans’ impressionistic style is immediately recognizable, and the level of telepathy between the three players is, even now, cause for amazement.