Friday, June 06, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bill Evans with Jeremy Steig

Artist:Bill Evans with Jeremy Steig
Song:Spartacus Love Theme
Album:What's New/Nirvana

Though Bill Evans recorded frequently as a sideman and as a leader of his trio, it appears he only recorded with flutists twice. The first was the 1962 album Nirvana with Herbie Mann and the second was the 1969 album What's New with Jeremy Steig. The label Jazz Collectors has conveniently licensed both albums and released them on one CD. After the tragic death of bassist Scott LaFaro, Bill Evans took a real nose dive in the early 60s. Both Evans and his girlfriend Elaine were addicted to heroin. Evans also moved from Riverside Records to Verve Records. The two moved to Florida and kicked the habit. So by the mid-60s, Evans was ready to form a new trio. He got lucky when he met bassist Eddie Gomez in 1966 and drummer Marty Morrell in 1968 and this trio stayed together until 1975. The 1969 album What's New was the second album for this trio. Flutist Jeremy Steig joined them only for this album. Steig was a pioneer of jazz rock fusion with his band Jeremy and the Satyrs. They recorded one album for Reprise in 1968. The band didn't last but Steig soon signed with Solid State Records and released the 1969 album This Is Jeremy Steig. Eddie Gomez was in Jeremy and the Satyrs and he suggested that Steig should record with the Evans trio. In 1962, Evans recorded the album Nirvana with flutist Herbie Mann. So I guess he remembered that and liked the idea of working with a flutist again. The other musicians on Nirvana were Chuck Israels on bass and Paul Motian on drums. Evans first recorded Alex North's Spartacus Love theme on his classic 1963 album Conversations With Myself. Most jazz fans should be familiar with that version but they may not be familiar with the version featuring Steig. Both What's New and Nirvana are available on one CD from Jazz Collectors. But there is no mention of Nirvana on the CD cover. Evans continued to record with this trio until Marty Morrell retired from touring and moved to Toronto to be a studio musician in 1975. Evans got addicted to drugs again and died in 1980. Jeremy Steig was very active in the 70s and then he married a Japanese woman and moved to Japan. You may have heard him play flute in the film Shrek Forever After. Shrek was based on a character created by his cartoonist father William Steig. here's a video of Spartacus Love Theme by Bill Evans with Jeremy Steig.

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