Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article
|Translated title of the contribution||French music reconfigured in the modal jazz of Bill Evans|
|Journal publication date||2013|
|Journal||Revista Per Musi|
|Number of pages||8|
Although French classical music, especially that of the twentieth-century, is commonly understood to have played a role in the improvisational thinking of the American modal jazz pianist Bill Evans (1929-1980), its relevance has rarely been probed in scholarly depth. These loci - French music and Evans - appear to offer an ideal opportunity for investigating relations between musical types: from parallels, potential intersections, through to specific eclecticisms, which could assimilate, adapt and individualize a given source. Implicit are ‘crossings’ and transformations of genre, culture, national identity and timeframe, as well as questions of influence; at issue are the nature and mutability of music materials. I aim to show the richness and significance of these interactions in two case studies: aspects of Kind of Blue (Davis, 1959) and 'Peace Piece' (Evans, 1958), in connection with Chopin (as an adoptive Frenchman), Ravel and Messiaen. Using critical ideas of Ravel (1928) and others, I argue that in French repertory particularly, Evans discovered an affinity with, and catalyst for, his improvisational priorities: lyricism, polyphonic lines, a rich harmonic palette of sevenths and ninths, subtle textures, voicings and exquisite tone - a vehicle for expressivity and imagination. Conversely, it is intriguing that relatively old French music has lived on, reconfigured - chameleon-like - within a new postwar context.