Date of Release - Jan 30, 1969 - Mar 11, 1969 (recording)
This CD reissue has the debut of drummer Marty Morell with Bill Evans and bassist Eddie Gomez; that particular trio would keep the same personnel for six productive years. Actually this is a quartet set with guest flutist Jeremy Steig, whose playing recalls Herbie Mann's recording (Nirvana) with Evans back in the early '60s. Both flutists were always open to the influences of pop and rock although in both of their collaborations with Bill Evans, the music is very much on the pianist's turf. With the exception of Evans' "Time Out for Chris" and the "Spartacus Love Theme," the songs performed on this date would fit securely in the Miles Davis repertoire of the late '50s. Steig is in particularly fine form on the program which includes tunes such as "Straight No Chaser," "Autumn Leaves" and "So What."
-Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)
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It has always seemed to me that the small jazz group of solo instrument in front of piano, bass and drums, represents, perhaps, the purest combination for desirable playing and listening; something like a gem in its ideal setting. Recordings in this form by my favorite hornmen would always be welcomed by me and I hope that you will find this setting a satisfying vehicle for listening to the unique talent of Jeremy Steig. It is extremely difficult to attempt a description of Jeremy's abilities. Just a bit of listening to him play will show you, I think, his virtuosity as well as the remarkable innovations he has made in the expressive capabilities of the flute. These breakthroughs come about as a result of a player's compulsion to express something which was heretofore not considered part of the technical and emotional spectrum of his instrument. Thus, especially through the medium of jazz, instrumental expressive potential has been continually expanded. Jeremy's playing also has a side of intensity that occasionally might defy belief. I played flute and piccolo for fourteen years and therefore feel a justification for my high estimation of Jeremy's exceptional scope as a flutist. Certainly one can be sure that he plays his true instrument and perhaps his example exemplifies the difference between playing one's primary instrument as opposed to doubling from one's primary instrument.
It was in 1964 in Daytona Beach, Florida that I first heard Jeremy when he was there as part of the Paul Winter Sex-let. We became acquainted and my strong impression of his living talent and creative need gave birth to my desire to play together somehow, someday. Happily, he expressed a similar hope, but as is so often the case, except for a 'here and there' it was not until latter '68 that his apartment's proximity to the Village Vanguard and The Top Of The Gate gave rise to frequent late set sessions with my trio. The musical results during these times varied; but often enough, we got into something I considered memorable. Out of this came the idea for a recording in this context.
The playing at the club had soon made it obvious that the material was not nearly so important as the success of the particular performance, so the problem of finding repetoire to work with for this album was not to difficult to solve. As always within the touchy circumstances of jazz recording, we felt that we probably did not reach the ultimate in each performance, but I trust that you will hear the essence of that for which we were striving.
About the rest of the group; Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell, who are, of course, the other members of my trio, I could say much. Suffice it to say that even though I began by describing this type of quartet in the image of "a gem in its perfect setting", you may hear this music more as we experienced it, as an intertwining of the individuals involved. This could not be possible without the contributions of Marty Morell's "listening" drums and the great bassist, Eddie Gomez.
With sincere gratitude to all the others involved in the production of this album and especially to the producer, my manager Helen Keane, whose hard work and patience made our parts as easy as possible to play, I'll leave you now to listen to the sound of the recording.
- Bill Evans (March 23, 1969)