Universal Classics and Jazz Japan
Three still-living jazz icons team up on Further Explorations, an album inspired by another legend whose influence remains unequivocal, 30 years after passing away, age 51, in 1980. Gaining initial exposure as a member of Bill Evans' first trio on New Jazz Conceptions (Riverside, 1956), drummer Paul Motian left the group nearly four years before bassist Eddie Gomez would commence an eleven-year run with the pianist on At the Montreux Jazz Festival (Verve, 1968).Though the connection is less direct, Evans was an early influence on perennial student Chick Corea, in particular on early recordings like the younger pianist's now-classic Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Solid State, 1968); the two also sharing a common interest in classical music and bosses—trumpeter Miles Davis and saxophonist Stan Getz—albeit years apart.
With Corea, Gomez and Motian far too advanced as distinctive voices and personal stylists to do anything quite so overt as a tribute record, Further Explorations is better-described as a tabula rasa, built on a repertoire largely associated with Evans, along with a few well-chosen originals. That he actually presented the lead sheet for his gently balladic "Bill Evans" to Evans, at the Top of the Gate in the 1970s, only speaks to Corea's endless appreciation of a pianist who was, in fact, gracious enough to let him sit in with his trio around that time.