The Very Best of The Bill Evans Trio captures the celebrated pianist at the front of his most influential trio, which included bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Recorded in three sessions between December 1959 and June 1961 and produced by Orrin Keepnews, the 11 tracks in this collection are culled from the trio's four Riverside albums, Portrait in Jazz, Explorations, Waltz for Debby, and Sunday at the Village Vanguard. This cohesive lineup came to an abrupt and tragic end less than two weeks after the last of the three sessions when LaFaro died in an auto accident in upstate New York.
"The selection of tracks for this set easily lives up to the appellation of ‘Very Best,'" says Neil Tesser, author of the liner notes for the Evans collection. "Half the program comprises uncontested examples of the Great American Songbook, each transformed subtly but utterly by Evans's ‘new jazz conception' (to borrow the title of his 1956 Riverside debut) . . . On The Very Best of the Bill Evans Trio, you hear the seeds, and the roots, and in the opinion of some, the full flower of the ‘piano trio' that proved to be so much more."