Very Early - Bill Evans

Bill Evans' composition "Very Early", showcases his signature style of lyrical melodicism and harmonic innovation. This solo piano piece, exemplifying the introspective and complex qualities of Evans' work, remains a profound exploration of chord voicings and improvisational fluency. Rooted in the post-bop era, "Very Early" reflects the artist's affinity for reinventing traditional jazz harmonies and forms.

Genesis of "Very Early"

Bill Evans, a paramount figure in modern jazz, composed "Very Early" during a period of personal and artistic growth. The piece first appeared on Evans' album "Portrait in Jazz", recorded in 1959—a pivotal year for jazz evolution. While it wasn't released as a standalone work initially, "Very Early" gained acclaim over time as musicians and critics delved deeper into Evans' expansive oeuvre.

Releasing the Resonance

"Very Early" was one of Evans' enduring compositions and featured on numerous recordings including his own and those of other jazz greats. The piece epitomizes Evans' contribution to jazz, standing the test of time and continually being revisited by contemporary musicians enamored with its depth and beauty.

Musical Insights of "Very Early"

Harmonically, "Very Early" is built on a foundation of complex chord structures, a hallmark of Evans' compositional style. The piece oscillates intricately through a series of shifting major and minor tonalities, showcasing Evans' mastery of extending traditional chord progressions into new and unexpected territories.

Unveiling the Harmony

The harmonic language of "Very Early" is a vivid illustration of Bill Evans' innovative chord voicings, which often include entire scales or modes within a single hand span. This, combined with his fluid use of modal interchanges, creates a soundscape that is both rooted in the jazz tradition and daringly modern.

The Lure of "Very Early"

The popularity of "Very Early" lies not only in its harmonic complexity but also in its emotive capacity. It invites a broad spectrum of interpretation from pianists, allowing the performer's personal expression to meld with Evans' intricate compositional framework. This piece serves as a solid pillar in the lexicon of modern jazz piano repertoire.

Continuing Influence on Pianists

Many pianists are drawn to "Very Early" for the opportunity it presents to delve into Evans' profound musical psyche. Its popularity endures, with new generations of jazz musicians discovering and reinterpreting Evans' nuanced work, thus ensuring its legacy is perpetuated within jazz pedagogy and performance practice.

In conclusion, Bill Evans' "Very Early" persists as an indispensable composition in solo piano jazz repertoire. Its harmonic intricacies and expressive potential render it an eternal subject of study and enjoyment among jazz aficionados. Both reflective of its time, and transcendent, "Very Early" encapsulates the genius of Bill Evans, an artist whose influence is imprinted indelibly on the landscape of jazz music.

"Very Early" remains a testament to Evans' unparalleled ability to blend the cerebral with the sentimental, challenging performers and listeners alike to experience the depth of his musical vision.

Publication date: 20. 02. 2024