Pianist Bill Evans' impressionist harmony, inventive improvisation, and trademark rhythmically independent, "singing" melody lines influenced a generation of pianists including Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Keith Jarrett. A classically trained pianist, at first he played exactly what was written in the sheet, but he learned to improvise by studying jazz recordings. Evans played everything from boogie woogie to Beethoven piano concertos, but jazz fans love his trios and his work with Miles Davis. Hear Bill Evans and learn more about his life and music tonight on the 9 O'clock Special on K-Jazz.
In 1958, Evans was hired by Miles Davis, becoming the only white member of Davis's famed sextet. Though they lasted only 8 months, it was one of the most fruitful collaborations in the history of jazz. Evans's introspective and classically informed approach to improvisation influenced Davis's style. Davis wrote in his autobiography, "Bill had this quiet fire that I loved on piano. The way he approached it, the sound he got, was like crystal notes or sparkling water cascading down from some clear waterfall." Additionally, Davis said, "I've sure learned a lot from Bill Evans. He plays the piano the way it should be played."