Bill Evans plays well enough on this set of unaccompanied solos (reissued on CD), but the material is generally not worth the intense explorations that it receives. Other than Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" and perhaps Ray Noble's "The Touch of Your Lips," the songs are not deserving of this type of treatment: "Make Someone Happy," "What Kind of Fool Am I" and a nearly 13Ѕ-minute version of "People."
- Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)
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Craftsmen reflect what they think other people want. Artists reflect themselves. Bill Evans is an artist. To know his music is to know the man.
Sometimes music brings out bitterness in an otherwise amiable personality. Sometimes, beauty buried beneath anger. Sometimes it doesn't tell you anything; sometimes there are only contradictions.
Bill Evans withholds nothing. His music is shy, assured, modest, gentle, authoritative, reflective, searching, yearning, playful, complex, simple.
So is the man.
This compact is Evans standing naked. There are no shirts or trousers, no boss or drums. The choice of songs is interesting. These are standard ballads, nothing new. They were chosen simply for their melodic richness and basic architecture. One would have to be a fool or a genius to pick such songs; songs that have been performed with a repetition past counting.
The fool would choose them because they are familiar, and one with nothing to say must be satisfied with quoting others. The genius chooses them for the challenge; for the untapped potential lying underneath the facade. II requires supreme confidence and fundamental humility, in addition to an innate sense of beauty. No musician possesses these qualities in greater profusion than Bill Evans. He has mastered the enormous vocabulary of his instrument, yet is not afraid of silence. His music is like stop-action photography - the learning, the understanding, the feelings of a lifetime compressed into three minutes, or five, or seven.
In addition to being a great pianist, Bill Evans is a nice man. He's someone you'd like to know. When you listen to this record, you will.
-John L Wasserman (critic and columnist San Francisco Chronicle)