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Paperback Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings Book

ISBN: 0300081138

ISBN13: 9780300081138

Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings

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Book Overview

A comprehensive biography of the brilliant jazz composer and pianist Bill Evans This enthralling book is the first biography in English of Bill Evans (1929-1980), one of the most influential of all... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Solid, welcome biography and resource.

I've enjoyed Pettinger's unpretentious study of Evans' life and music as much as any comparable jazz title that comes to mind. The British author admits that he never met Bill Evans and has little to offer in the way of exclusive, privileged information about a subject whose personal habits might tempt lesser writers to manufacture salacious prose along with much amateur psychoanalyzing. Having lowered the expectations, Pettinger proceeds to give a personal biography of the man and chronological account of the musical career that is ultimately a remarkably illuminating portrait of a jazz artist.Admittedly, the book is essential reading primarily for the listener who already counts himself among Evans' admirers and is aware of the pianist's artistry and influence. More than likely, such a reader will find many of his suspicions validated--from the pianist's rigorous classical training to his self-effacing personality to his discomfort as a member of Miles Davis' Quintet to his creative rejuvenation during the last year and months of his life. In addition, he will undoubtedly discover, on practically every page, something unexpected--Evans' affinity for Russian language and culture (clearly demonstrated on the pianist's brooding, darkly dramatic, extended introductions to "Nardis"), his curious attraction to garish '70's clothing styles, his strange personal and musical relationship with "speed" buddy Philly Joe Jones.Pettinger knows enough about music, pianos, and piano playing to insure that his discussion of the music is accessible and instructive without becoming erudite or pedantic. Although it would be, in my opinion, impossible to overstate the influence, sophistication, and singular beauty of Evans' music, Pettinger wisely does not try to do so. The definitive work on the extraordinary moment in music history for which Evans is responsible remains to be written. But Pettinger's book is certainly a worthy start. And the plentiful discography is clearly presented and annotated--in itself worth the price of the book to any collector of Evans' extraordinary recorded legacy.

I Really LIke This This Book

I have been fascinated by Bill Evans for over 30 years. I found this book to be first rate in terms of giving me a definitive understanding of Bill Evans the musician. The author's research for this book is first rate and authoritative. True, I was surprised that so little of Bill Evan's private side was revealed, but in a very real sense Bill Evans had almost no personal life; Evans was deeply addicted to heroin for almost his entire working career, and he was always sick with hepatitis and liver ailments. Evans had such poor eating habits that he was hospitilized on more than one occasion due to malnutrition. Evans had so little money due to his heroin addiction that he could not even afford to go to a dentist and consequently had extremely poor teeth until a dentist treated him out of charity. One very important benefit of reading the book was learning about the existance of "The Secret Sessions 1966-1975", a set of 8 CD's that were made of the Bill Evans Trio at the Village Vanguard without his knowledge. Immediately before reading this book, I read "Dance of the Infidels : A Portrait of Bud Powell". I recommend reading both these books in that order. Bill Evans felt that Bud Powell was the greatest jazz pianist of all time and was strongly influenced by him. It's ironic that Bud Powell, like Bill Evans, had a tragic personal life.

Re: Person I Knew

I was tremendously moved by this book. I can't imagine why there seems to be some grousing about the supposed effectiveness of the author's technique. Because he chooses not to dwell inordinately on the drug use? Because he offers extensive critical analysis? Jeez, the info on the European boots alone makes the book a bargain. If you're reading these reviews in an attempt to get some guidance, do yourself a favor and buy the book. You'll learn a ton about a tortured genius. As for the self-appointed critics, I tremble awaiting your creative lunges, at music, at writing, whatever.

The best book on a jazz musician's life I've ever read.

I have always been an admirer of Bill Evans work. I am a musician and have spent many hours at the Village Vanguard and Village Gate in NYCity listening to his music. In 1979 I had the pleasure of interviewing him for a radio show I did in Stamford,Ct on WYRS. As a bassist I have learned from many of his recorded works and marveled and respected Scott LaFaro's work with his 'First Trio". When I began reading the book I was both amazed and pleased that Mr. Pettinger was a musician and decided to approach the subject from both a personal and musical level. He has captured the essence of the music, the man and the mystique that we, as jazz musicians, have felt about Evan's since our first hearing. It is quite uplifting to read a story and be able to see the entire spectrum of a persons work rather than a superficial writing of dates,cliches and hearsay. Mr. Pettinger has evoked all the emotions a writer can hope for in me for I have smiled, laughed, shook my head in disbelief, nodded in appreciation and even shed a tear when reading of the complete abandonment Evans felt at the loss of Scott LaFaro. To be able to share these private moments and also revel in the delight of so many of his peers, reviewers and band mates in his unique and superior talent is a real treat. I have read and re-read sections and shared many passages with friends. Now I will make sure I buy copies for all the musicians I can think of that may not have heard of this marvelous writing. Three cheers for Mr. Pettinger. I only wish that writers who wish to tell us about someone read this book and do as much research as he has. In my forty years as a professional musician and 30 years as a jazz educator, writer and broadcaster this is the best book written about the life of a musician I have ever read.

A Musicians Delight

As I anticipated from a concert pianist and author Peter Pettinger, his book about Bill Evans is a brilliant account of the musical development of the keyboard genius. This is a book which focusses much of the time on the musical finesse of Bill Evans. As a jazz musician I was very enriched by the great love and attention Pellinger has given to the musical details - with a lesser entanglement with the side tracks or curiosities and value judgements which are pursued by some biographers. Neither is this a superficial account of Evans life; the pianistic and other life challenges of Bill's ever increasing drug addiction are adequately covered. The biography excels in presenting rich musical insights about a musicians musician; the technical analysis of Bill's musical talent is surely the integral part of his story. This biography of Bill Evans is outstanding because it has been written by a fellow musician who has the ability to understand and document the sheer musical genius of Bill Evans - at a higher professional level than most writers could ever achieve.
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