Artist and Music News

Bill Evans and Joe Henderson Album Reissues

 August 10, 2021

By  ExoticDJ

Germany’s first jazz label, MPS Records, reissued a couple of albums from their historic catalogue last Friday when pianist Bill Evans’ “Symbiosis” and saxophonist Joe Henderson’s “Mirror Mirror” dropped on vinyl and CD in the United States and Canada via Edel Germany in partnership with Bob Frank Entertainment

Best known for recording primarily in piano, drums and bass settings, Evans was recognized as the leader of one of the most influential jazz trios and lauded for his work on Miles Davis’s iconic “Kind of Blue” album. 1974’s “Symbiosis” finds Evans in the rare company of an orchestra led by Claus Ogerman, a prolific arranger-composer who has crafted noteworthy recordings in an array of genres by legendary artists such as Frank SinatraStan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim to modern day figures like Diana Krall. Ogerman had a flair for melding contemporary classical and jazz, utilizing New York Philharmonic and jazz musicians. 

The set list on “Symbiosis,” which was reissued last month as a limited-edition orange vinyl LP, is devoid of standards and Evans’ originals. With Evans dispensing lyrical solos on acoustic and electric keyboards, the album’s audacious repertoire is diverse, spanning minimalistic passages, samba-tinged big band numbers, and grand tunes highlighted by lavish string section tracks and cinematic selections typical of the 1970s era. Throughout, Evans inventive finger work remains the captivating centerpiece. 

Henderson possessed a distinctive sound and style that remained consistent throughout his remarkable career that included a star-making stint playing in Horace Silver’s Quintet and a run as a member of Herbie Hancock’s band. On 1980’s “Mirror Mirror,” which was reissued last month as a limited-edition green vinyl disc, the GRAMMY winner is accompanied by a stellar acoustic lineup recorded in Los Angeles featuring Chick Corea on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Corea and Carter each contributed two compositions to the set list while Henderson’s “Joe’s Bolero” is a piece typical of this hard bop, avant-garde recording, a cut that reflects one of the saxman’s primary influences, John Coltrane. The hornman’s virtuoso tenor emotes mellow melodies on the disc’s lone standard, “What’s New?” Although credited as a solo Henderson album, each member of the all-star quartet is given equal opportunity to shine. 

Since June, MPS has been reissuing albums from their catalogue in North America by jazz royalty, including Ella FitzgeraldDizzy GillespieOscar PetersonDexter GordonFreddie HubbardThe Count Basie Orchestra and George Duke. For more information and to see what else is coming soon from MPS, please visit https://www.mps-music.com.

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