Bill Evans – Conversations with myself

“Conversations with myself” is an incredibly complex, creative and technical piece of musical craftsmanship. Through use of overdubbing Evans is able to have 3 distinct sides to each song that he creates. Each of his songs have a unique vibe to them that would have been hard to replicate at the time of their composition considering the stigma around overdubbing that was spreading throughout the music community. Many in the 60′s saw overdubbing as “cheating” since it wasn’t live music but just recordings on top of recordings. Evans, being an already distinguished musician and jazz player, decided to tackle the stigma of using overdubbing to prove it was a legitimate method of producing music. ¬†Since his album was a success other jazz artists slowly came round to the idea of using overdubbing and now it is a widely and completely valid method of music production. His use of timing, timbre and technique is prevalent throughout the entire album. Each song is is stylistically similar but lyrically they are quite distinguishable. Being someone who does not consistently listen to jazz some of the more nuanced pieces of Evan’s playing is lost on me, but from what I was able to understand from his playing, I found quite enjoyable. I wouldn’t however, recommend the album to just anyone. Since the album is targeted at those who are more versed in jazz, it already has a niche following which may alienate some newer listeners. “Conversations with Myself” is something to be admired and to draw inspiration from if not from a jazz perspective then from a principles standpoint, at a time when something was truly stigmatized ¬†Evan’s took it upon himself to show that something that is feared is not in fact evil or illegitimate. That much like in jazz its not what you play but more in what you don’t play.

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