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Bill Evans' Behind The Dikes: The First Official And Complete Release Of The 1969 Netherlands Recordings On Elemental Music Records

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It’s really a splendid document. It’s amazing to hear the band in its element over these multiple nights and hearing them stretch out and take some chances.
—Vijay Iyer
The first official release of three extraordinary live performances by jazz legend Bill Evans, will be available for the second drop of Record Store Day on July 17th for the 3-LP SET edition and on July 23rd for the deluxe 2-CD SET. Remastered from the original tape reels housed at the Nederlands Jazz Archief, this limited edition comes in a triple gatefold LP Jacket, 180-gram audiophile vinyl set. It includes an extensive 12 pages LP insert for the vinyl (32 pages booklet for the CD edition). With 12 never-before-published photos by Nico van der Stam, essay by Dutch jazz scholar Bert Vuijsje, co-producer Zev Feldman’s introduction, and new interviews with Dutch pianist Jan Huydts, Eddie Gomez, Marty Morell and celebrated pianist Vijay Iyer. The complete Hilversum concert (which occupies all four sides of LPs 1 and 2), as well as the Metropole session (LP 3, side F, tracks 3-4) are previously unreleased. The Amsterdam concert (LP 3 side E and side F, tracks 1-2) has been only available before on bootleg editions with much inferior sound quality.

Behind the Dikes is the definitive edition of Bill Evans in the Netherlands 1969. Not only by its superb sound but also because it includes sensational bonus material—a recording of Evans’s first performance with the legendary Metropole Orkest, March 25, 1969 at VARA Studio 8 in Hilversum. Besides, one of the very unique thing about this set is that it contains the only re¬cording by Bill Evans known to exist of the Duke Ellington’s composition, “I Let A Song Out of My Heart.”

Jazz journalist Bert Vuijsje provide us with some historical context about Bill Evans music in the booklet. “Evans played his first concert [in Holland] on February 12, 1965 at, with Chuck Israels on bass and Larry Bunker on drums. Six months earlier, in July of 1964, the Rotterdam jazz magazine True Note had published a glowing analysis of Bill Evans’s qualities. Martijn Sanders, who was to become the Concertgebouw’s director in 1982, called Bill Evans “the first and so far only jazz musician who has created lyrical arabesque music within jazz without colliding with its fundamental demands. He produces music that also swings, not swing that is also music. In him, jazz has found an intellectual who approaches the piano as a means of expression and jazz as a form of expression with a conception that is all his own. It can only crystallize a deeply thought-out philosophy and wisdom. Good jazz music requires, paradoxically, emotion and constraint, simplicity and structure. He who finds the golden middle way between these opposites is a truly great jazz artist.”

With this regards to Evans approach to music and his playing, Mr Vuijsje reveals what Evans said to him in an interview during his last visit to Holland, in May 1978. “I know I play for myself in the first place. The audience can be a stimulus; when you don’t really feel like playing, the audience can move you to do your best. But the problems I’m concerned with are very personal, solitary problems of expression and esthetics. My music doesn’t intend to establish interaction with the audience. I do want to communicate, but primarily with myself. And I know that if the music communicates with myself, communication with the audience will follow.”

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A co-production of Elemental Music Records, Zev Feldman & Frank Jochemsen in collaboration with Dutch Jazz Archive and the Bill Evans Estate.

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