Universal Musical Mind: Bill Evans on Creative Process and Self-Teaching

English: Bill Evans performing at the Montreux...
Bill Evans, 1978 Photo: Brian McMillen brianmcmillen@hotmail.com

Bill Evans is a genius whose ideas about music, and his music itself are still fresh and invigorating and necessary. Here’s his discography.

Evans played piano on the best-selling jazz album of all time, Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue; he was nominated for 31 Grammys and won 7, including a lifetime achievement award.

There are too many gems from Evans in these 5 short videos to list, but some of the good stuff include Evans’s thoughts about the universal musical mind, composition vs. improvisation, learning to improvise, and so much more. There are some synchronization issues, which can be weird. I just put these on in the background and listened.

In video 2 Mr. Evans demonstrates what he’s talking about as far as “realness” and authenticity and simplicity. Been thinking about this idea of simplicity and authenticity a lot after Ingrid Jensen posted this 1961 recording of Plum Blossom by Yusef Lateef that is so, so simple, yet so tasty and “real,” and I just can’t stop listening to it. That approach is behind much of the appeal of Kind of Blue.

Anyway, towards the end of the second video (at 8:15), Bill and Harry Evans go to the piano for a teaching/learning demonstration. In the 4th and 5th videos, Evans begins to talk about his own process of practice and learning. I could go on and on and on, but redundancy is annoying. Just watch.

a bit of overlap here, skip ahead to 2:10 to pick up where the last one left off….


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