Recorded over three days on, 6 and 9 February, and 20 May, 1963 in New York City this classic album was released the following year and immediately caused controversy. It’s title comes from the idea that Bill Evans played three separate tracks and over-dubbed himself to build up the complex arrangements.

There were some that thought this sacrilege and an impure art as it was impossible to recreate in concert. It is with the passing of time acknowledged as a masterpiece by a genius. Producers David Foster and Tommy LiPuma both cite this album as an inspiration; many others agree and 1964 it won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.

Evans played Glen Gould’s piano, CD 318 on the recording that was created out of a ‘conversation’ between the first two takes with subtle embelishments added on the third take. As it says on the liner notes of the album regarding ‘Bill three’, “He was their Greek chorus, and sometimes he had the best lines.” If you have any doubts just listen to ‘Stella By Starlight’ it is shows off Evans’s genius in all its glory

The cover photography is by the celebrated photographer, Roy DeCarava

 “Those hands were thrust in the slash side pockets of his windbreaker and he was all hunched up with the bitter cold. I thought: So that’s what genius looks like.” – Gene Lees on the liner notes of the album.


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Comments (9)

Steve Grathwohl February 26th at 5:43pm

Yes, an undoubted masterpiece. The closest analog I can think of is Hume's "Dialogues concerning natural religion"---a remarkable mind in conversation with itself.

mindfulkettle February 26th at 5:51pm

Reblogged this on The Mindful Kettle.

Luiz Roberto February 26th at 7:29pm

..."There were some that thought this sacrilege and an impure art as it was impossible to recreate in concert"...sacrilege for me is saying it's not a masterpiece...and who said that art would be impure if it couldn't be recreated live in concert ?...

Gib Veconi February 26th at 8:51pm

This recording represented a groundbreaking concept in 1964, and few if any other pianists could have pulled it off. Bill later recorded "Further Conversations with Myself," and "New Conversations." The breathtaking arrangements and playing on the latter make it my personal favorite.

CommunicateAsia February 26th at 10:54pm

Reblogged this on CommunicateAsia and commented:
I vote yes, a true masterpiece.

Jedd Carby February 27th at 12:30am

While I am a huge Bill Evans fan, I had a hard time with repeated listens to this album. I found it too busy and often times cluttered. That being said, there were some great moments here. I think that I will persist with it, as I like the concept and feel I haven't tapped into how good this really is yet.

JoYcelyn Avery February 27th at 1:45am

Don be doin' so much sloggin' in the bl0ggin'; rather open your ears as well as you can and take great apportionments of time tolisten listen listen! If this is a bit much and even if not give "Left to Right " a go. Unique, I believe.

Jedd Carby February 27th at 7:49am

It is a great album, rather, I just have not been able to Enjoy it with as much ease as some of the other Bill Evans albums. Thanks for your suggestions!

Craig Lawless January 21st at 8:17pm

Little-known fact: the song "NYC's No Lark" is an anagram of and tribute by Evans to Sonny Clark, who had recently died. It's a great album to listen to with headphones on...the intricacies of the 3 voices become less "busy" when they are immediately within your head through headphones. I first heard the album on headphones in the library at SUNY Potsdam in the Fall of 1976. The fact that I remember when, where and how I first heard it should indicate the artistic weight this album carries with me to this day.

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