0030. Bill Evans – Sunday at the Village Vanguard [1961]


A jazz piano live album.  Need I say more?  I mean, I’m speaking on a superficial level for those of us (including me) who aren’t seasoned veterans of this genre.  This project is exposing me to a lot of artists that I suspect would’ve taken me much longer to find on my own.  This is definitely a good one, and I would listen to this album again outside the context of this project.  Anyway, I hope someone out there enjoys this album like I did/do.

Wikipedia Says:

Sunday at the Village Vanguard is a 1961 album by jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. The album is routinely ranked as one of the best live jazz recordings of all time.


Sunday at the Village Vanguard was recorded live on June 25, 1961 at theVillage Vanguard in New York Cityover five recorded sessions (2 matinee and 3 soiree). It is well remembered as the final performance by the Evans trio of the time, which included bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. LaFaro was killed in a car accident ten days after the recording.[1]

Evans and producer Orrin Keepnews reportedly selected the tracks for Sunday at the Village Vanguard to best feature LaFaro’s masterly performance on bass, beginning and ending with two tracks (“Gloria’s Step” and “Jade Visions”) written by LaFaro himself, and with all the others featuring solos by him. This album is routinely ranked as one of the best live jazz recordings of all time.[2][3]

Additional material from the same day’s performance was released in a second album Waltz for Debby (also 1961), as was other material in another LP Bill Evans — More From the Vanguard. The entire day’s recordings were released in 2005 asThe Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
All About Jazz (no rating) [4]
Allmusic 5/5 stars [1]
Penguin Guide to Jazz 5/5 stars [3]

Writing for Allmusic, music critic Thom Jurek wrote of the album: “This trio is still widely regarded as his finest, largely because of the symbiotic interplay between its members. This is a great place to begin with Evans.”[1]Samuel Chell of All About Jazz wrote “Along with bassist wunderkind Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, Evans perfected his democratic vision of trio cooperation, where all members performed with perfect empathy and telepathy… It is these performances, currently available as Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby that comprise the number one best jazz live recording in this present series.”[4]


In 2006, Riverside issued a three-CD box set containing virtually all the material recorded at the Village Vanguard (one number has been lost). While all of this music was available on the Riverside Bill Evans box set, this re-issue has had the audience ambiance enhanced and includes introductions, on-stage discussions between the musicians, interaction with the audience, and a few bars of music that Evans improvised to fill out the tape at the end of the night.

Track listing

  1. “Gloria’s Step” (take 2) (Scott LaFaro) – 6:09
  2. My Man’s Gone Now” (George Gershwin) – 6:21
  3. Solar” (Miles Davis) – 8:52
  4. “Alice in Wonderland” (take 2) (Sammy Fain) – 8:34
  5. All of You” (take 2) (Cole Porter) – 8:17
  6. “Jade Visions” (take 2) (Scott LaFaro) – 3:44

CD bonus tracks

  1. “Gloria’s Step” (take 3) – 6:54
  2. “Alice in Wonderland” (take 1) – 6:59
  3. “All of You” (take 1) – 8:08*
  4. “All of You” (take 3) – 5:06
  5. “Jade Visions” (take 1) – 4:16
  • Song 9 does not appear on the 2008 Keepnews Edition CD release.



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