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A música francesca reconfigurado no jazz modal de Bill Evans

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Deborah Mawer
  • Fausto Borém (Translator)
Translated title of the contributionFrench music reconfigured in the modal jazz of Bill Evans
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Revista Per Musi
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)7-14
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>Portuguese


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.

Bibliographic note

This article is a Portuguese translation of 'French music reconfigured in the modal jazz of Bill Evans', in Janne Mäkelä and Jouni Eerola (eds.), Jazz Chameleon: 9th Nordic Jazz Conference Proceedings (Helsinki: The Finnish Jazz and Pop Archive, 2011), 77-89.