Bill Evans

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Bill Evans was an American jazz pianist who did much to establish the vocabulary of modern jazz piano.

By his own admission, as a teenager "I couldn't play 'My Country 'Tis Of Thee' without the notes".

However, he eventually learnt to improvise, and was not content to stop after he had achieved a basic level of competence - drawing inspiration from European composers such as Chopin and Debussy, as well as from contemporary jazz pianists such as Horace Silver and Nat King Cole, he steadily established a style that was sufficiently distinctive and beautiful to attract the attention of Miles Davis.

A brief period with the Davis band culminated with the recording of Kind of Blue, a landmark jazz album that arguably could never have been what it was without Evans' diffident romanticism.

After leaving Miles Davis' band, he explored the possibilities of the jazz trio - his collaboration with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian produced the landmark Sunday At The Village Vanguard, a recording of the highlights of five sessions recorded at the famous New York club. Tragically, LaFaro died in a car crash just 11 days later.

Evans' career continued until his death in 1981.