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February 27, 2008:

Bb, F#, A, Eb – THE NOTES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am listening to one of the greatest albums ever recorded as I type these here notes – Bill Evans With Symphony Orchestra, arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman. From the day I first discovered this album (the week it came out) it became one of my most played LPs. I’d already discovered and fallen in love with Mr. Evans with Conversations With Myself, his triple-tracked piano solo album. I bought that album solely based on its cover and the fact that it contained the Love Theme from Spartacus. I believe I wax on and on about it in Kritzer Time, but that album was a life-changer, and an introduction to one of the greatest musical poets who ever lived. So, when I saw the name Bill Evans coupled with symphony orchestra, I just bought it without even thinking about it. I probably went through five copies of the LP, playing them so often that I simply wore out the grooves. When the album finally hit CD I was thrilled and bought it the day it was released. I played it, too, to death, although I was not enamored of the remastering or the sound, as it sounded generations away from the original album master tapes. When the big Bill Evans on Verve box came out in 1997 I bought it instantly (for the then exorbitant price of $250 (for eighteen CDs). But, even though the sound was improved, the packaging was so stupid and so unwieldy (it came in a metal box that rusted – on purpose – and the CDs were housed in cardboard sleeves that were almost impossible to get out of their holder), that I never went back to the set. It was also one of those things where there were all these extra takes of the same songs, and I just couldn’t play the CDs and enjoy the ALBUMS I wanted to hear – just the albums, not all the extra stuff. I began to despair that my ears had just deceived me all those years ago, and that this particular album was just not well recorded. Well, over in Japan, they’ve begun reissuing all the Bill Evans Verve albums in some new mastering process called DSD and with the Japan mini-LP style packaging. So, I got Bill Evans with Symphony Orchestra, just because I love that packaging and I was curious to hear what, if any, improvements had been made. Well, it’s a whole new ballgame, baby, because one of my favorite albums of all-time has finally been restored to sound as fresh and new as the day it was first released – this thing is gorgeous. It sound like they went back to first generation sources and the result is spectacular. I now no longer need the unwieldy box set, as all these albums are being re-released with this new superior sound. Plus, even though the Verve box supposedly contained everything Mr. Evans recorded for Verve, they forgot an entire album of movie and TV themes – not so much a jazz album as an MOR album, but again with arrangements and orchestrations by Ogerman. How they could make an oversight like that was beyond comprehension. That album has finally been issued in this Japanese import series, and it, too, sounds like it was recorded yesterday. No, it’s not a Bill Evans masterpiece, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for it. I have three others on their way – including Conversations With Myself. Thankfully, the Verve box has long been out of print and is much sought after – I was able to get incredible credit on it, so that getting these new versions is simple and basically free. The cheapest price of the Verve box from an amazon seller is $369. The highest (there are only three copies available) is over $800!

Have I just done an entire paragraph drooling over a Bill Evans CD without writing one word of the notes? Yes, I have, and I’m glad. Now, let’s have some notes. Bb. F#. A. Eb. Those are some of the finest notes I’ve ever written. Kind of a Bb augmented major seventh with a sus third. What am I, Bill Evans all of a sudden? Speaking of a sus third, yesterday was a long and involved day. I got up way too early, went to the storage facility, where I had to pull out about fourteen big, heavy boxes to reach the box I needed. I got the score that had been requested, put all the boxes back, and that was that. Then I took my car for its smog inspection (registration renewal time) – I passed with flying colors (red, beige, and yellow). Then I had to overnight two CDs to two people, and I shall breathlessly await their reaction, because there is a very long shot that it could result in something very interesting. We shall see. Then I picked up a couple of smallish packages, then came home and got ready to leave. Oh, and I forgot – in the morning, just prior to going to storage, I entered all my little fixes for the new book.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I’m composing a song around these here notes – Bb, F#, A, and Eb. I call it The Augmented Major Seventh Sus Third Notes.

The traffic out to the Chance Theater was, believe it or not, worse than yesterday. What took an excruciating hour yesterday took an interminable ninety minutes today. Once again, there was no rhyme or reason to the way the traffic was happening, and I guess I’m going to have to resign myself to that. Last night’s auditions were fun – we saw some excellent females, both for the ensemble and for the female roles. Unfortunately, we had a dearth of men. A Dearth Of Men – that’s the title of my next novel, a story of hope and sand on Fire Island. I think out of both nights we’re only calling back four men. However, I know there are some really good people coming to the callbacks tonight, so I’m ever hopeful. Where we’re really lacking is the male ensemble, so we’re all working on that today. I really like the vibe and xylophone of this theater, and I really like the co-founder of the Chance, Oanh, who was the director of Assassins. Prior to the casting call, I had a quick bite to eat at something called the Red Robin – I wasn’t too impressed with the food.

Today, I have a very busy day. I have to get up early again, do a bunch of errands, then drive over to the West Side to lunch with someone that I’m discussing a big project with – nothing in the immediate, but something that could ultimately be very exciting should it ever come to fruition. I’ll then have to hurry home, and then my plan is to be on the freeway at 3:30, to see if that makes any difference, traffic-wise. If it doesn’t, then I’m just going to leave at five and have it take the ninety minutes it took the one time I did leave at five. I mean, if it takes ninety minutes at 3:50 and ninety minutes at 5:00, I see no reason to leave before five.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do many errands, have a lunch meeting, drive to Anaheim, and have callbacks for The Brain From Planet X. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we attempt to sing The Notes.

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