Evans’ reputation today is as great as it ever was, almost 34 years after his passing. His best known and loved recordings are the trio recordings on Riverside, which ended after his bass player Scott LaFaro died in an auto accident and Evans left public life for a year of grieving. He then signed with Verve where he experimented with instrumental combinations other than the trio. Still, it was the piano trio where Evans spent much of his studio time as exemplified in this 1965 session. Here, Evans teams with Chuck Israels on bass and Larry Bunker on drums to play eight standards, all previously recorded by him on Riverside, but each sufficiently unique to stand with earlier versions.
While the Riversides, taken as a whole, are more consistently musically satisfying than Evans’ Verve output, where they really excel is in the sound. Verve LPs from the middle 1960s forward cannot compete in mastering or pressing quality with the Riverside, and Rudy Van Gelder’s stereo treatments tend to be hard left/right/centre affairs. This new 2-disc set improves on the mastering and pressing shortcomings of the original, and ameliorates the hard stereo imaging. The poor miking on the bass remains but this is an excellent transformation.