This is it! The breakthrough. The pinnacle of spontaneous musical communication. Three men breathing as one on a tiny bandstand.
Everything Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, and Paul Motian had been working on for the previous 18 months led to this moment. The intimate, contrapuntal dialogues between Evans’s poetic piano and LaFaro’s bass, as swift as the wind. Motian’s sustained riveted ride cymbal providing a carpet of stars. The ballads, as deep and heartbreaking as any wee-small-hours Sinatra. The startlingly beautiful bass solos, so sensitively recorded. The mobile rhythms and quietly interweaving phrases.
There is a fresh discovery here: take 1 of LaFaro’s “Gloria’s Step,” an ever-so-slightly flawed beauty. There is the clear-eyed annotation of Orrin Keepnews, producer of all of Evans’s Riverside albums. And finally, there is the crowning glory of these performances, the last ever by this singular trio.