Bill Evans – The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961

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The 1961 engagement of Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian at the Village Vanguard is widely considered to be one of the most historic in jazz. This 3-CD set presents all five sets the trio performed in their original order.

The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961, a three-CD box set released in 2005, marks the first time the entire Bill Evans Trio’s complete sets at the Village Vanguard on June 25, 1961 have been released in their entirety (outside of the twelve-disc set containing Evans’ complete Riverside recordings). It also marks the first US release of the first take of “Gloria’s Step,” which is incomplete due to a power failure.

These sets, from which the classic LPs Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby were drawn, were the trio’s final live recordings. Bassist Scott LaFaro would die in an automobile accident on July 6.

The album was deemed by the Library of Congress to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” and added to the United States National Recording Registry for the year 2009. (Wikipedia,

“This is an essential purchase, whether you are a novice or seasoned jazz fan”, – Ken Dryden (AllMusic).

“The essential nature of this music is hard to over-estimate or lose in hyperbole. These three compact discs of jazz piano trio music, like Robert Johnson’s 29 compositions or Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier should not simply be considered as simply musical masterpieces, but cultural masterpieces”, – C.Michael Bailey (All About Jazz).

Track listing:

Disc one
Afternoon Set 1
Spoken introduction
Gloria’s Step” (Take 1, interrupted) (Scott LaFaro)
Alice in Wonderland” (Take 1) (Sammy Fain-Bob Hilliard) [Sb]
My Foolish Heart” (Victor Young-Ned Washington) [W]
All of You” (Take 1) (Cole Porter)
Announcement and intermission
Afternoon Set 2
My Romance” (Take 1) (Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart) [W]
Some Other Time” (Leonard Bernstein-Betty Comden-Adolph Green) [W]
Solar” (Miles Davis) [S]

Disc two
Evening Set 1
Gloria’s Step” (Take 2) [S]
My Man’s Gone Now” (George Gershwin-Ira Gershwin-DuBose Heyward) [S]
All of You” (Take 2) [S]
Detour Ahead” (Take 1) (Lou Carter-Herb Ellis-Johnny Frigo) [Wb]
Evening Set 2
discussing repertoire
Waltz for Debby” (Take 1) (Bill Evans-Gene Lees) [Wb]
Alice in Wonderland” (Take 2) [S]
Porgy (I Loves You, Porgy)” (George Gershwin-Ira Gershwin-DuBose Heyward) [Wb]
My Romance” (Take 2) [Wb]
Milestones” (Miles Davis) [W]

Disc Three
Evening Set 3
Detour Ahead” (Take 2) [W]
Gloria’s Step” (Take 3) [Sb]
Waltz for Debby” (Take 2) [W]
All of You” (Take 3) [Sb]
Jade Visions” (Take 1) (Scott LaFaro) [Sb]
Jade Visions” (Take 2) [S]
…A few final bars

Bill Evans – piano
Scott LaFaro – bass
Paul Motian – drums


Released: September 13, 2005
Recorded: June 25, 1961
Village Vanguard, New York City
Label: Riverside
Producer: Orrin Keepnews