A milestone of early '60s modern jazz.
From its iconic cover -- Antoinette Frisell's haunting 1947 photo "Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida," shaded a deep underwater shade of blue -- to the gorgeously minimalist music contained in its grooves, Undercurrent is one of the early '60s' finest modern jazz records. After semi-officially retiring following the unexpected death of his trio bandmate Scott LaFaro in July 1961, this was Bill Evans' first recording session in over a year, and the lack of a bassist replacing LaFaro could be seen as a quiet tribute. Otherwise, Undercurrent picks up directly from the recordings Evans made just prior to LaFaro's death, with the pianist favoring the simplest possible voicings; at times it sounds as if Evans is playing with the keyboard just barely out of his reach. To complement Evans, guitarist Jim Hall pares down his chords to the barest minimum, often soloing with simple arpeggios and single-note lines. Even the upbeat opener, an unexpectedly peppy run through the ballad standard "My Funny Valentine," showcases an exquisite delicacy that the remaining five tracks explore in greater depth, culminating in the poignant Hall original "Skating In Central Park." A beautiful and emotionally resonant album, Undercurrent is one of Evans' finest works.
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