William John Bill Evans was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly worked in a trio setting. In 1955, he moved to New York City, where he worked with bandleader, in 1958, Evans joined Miles Daviss sextet, where he was to have a profound influence. In 1959, the band, then immersed in modal jazz, recorded Kind of Blue, in late 1959, Evans left the Miles Davis band and began his career as a leader with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, a group now regarded as a seminal modern jazz trio. In 1961, ten days recording the highly acclaimed Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby. After months of seclusion, Evans re-emerged with a new trio, in 1963, Evans recorded Conversations with Myself, an innovative solo album using the unconventional technique of overdubbing over himself. In 1966, he met bassist Eddie Gómez, with whom he would work for eleven years, several successful albums followed, such as Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Alone and The Bill Evans Album, among others. Many of his compositions, such as Waltz for Debby, have become standards and have played and recorded by many artists. Evans was honored with 31 Grammy nominations and seven awards, and was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame, Bill Evans was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, to Harry and Mary Evans. His father was of Welsh descent and ran a course, his mother was of Rusyn ancestry. The marriage was due to his fathers heavy drinking, gambling. He had a brother, Harry, two years his senior, with whom he shared a close relationship. Given Harry Evans Sr. s destructive character, Mary Evans would often leave home with her sons to nearby Somerville, to stay with her sister Justine, there, Harry began piano lessons somewhere between age 5 and 7 with local teacher Helen Leland. Even though Bill was thought to be too young to receive lessons, soon both brothers were taking piano lessons. Evans remembered Leland with affection for not insisting on a technical approach, with scales. He would soon develop a fluid sight-reading ability, though his teacher rated his brother as a better pianist, at age 7, Bill began violin lessons, and soon also flute and piccolo. Even though he soon dropped those instruments, it is believed they later influenced his keyboard style and he later cited Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert as frequently played composers. Around the same time came his first exposure to jazz. At the age of 13, Bill stood in for a sick pianist in Buddy Valentinos rehearsal band, soon, Bill began to perform for dances and weddings throughout New Jersey, playing music like boogie woogie and polkas for $1 per hour
Evans in 1969
Evans in 1936
Program of Bill Evans' graduation concert. April 24, 1950.