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JazzTimes 10: All-Time Great Piano Trio Albums

The power of three is on full display in these groups

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.

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Originally Published
Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.