Featuring Thor Polson and Ed Dunsavage
Saturday, June 20 ~ 7:00 p.m. Old Siskiyou Barn, Ashland
Siskiyou Music Project presents an intimate evening of piano and guitar music at the Old Siskiyou Barn on Saturday, June 20, featuring pianist Thor Polson and guitarist Ed Dunsavage, in a tribute to the music of pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall.
In 1962, pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall met to record the first of two of the most influential jazz recordings. Piano and guitar duos are rare, as their similarities can make it difficult for the musicians to stay out of each other’s way, but Evans and Hall made their similarities their strength. Both had used space as a key element in their music, moving away from the unrelenting intensity of bebop.
“Undercurrent” from 1962 contained a mix of jazz standards, including a rare up tempo version of “My Funny Valentine,” along with the Hall original “Romain.” In his November 26, 1962 review for Down Beat magazine jazz critic Pete Welding stated: “This collaboration between Evans and Hall has resulted in some of the most beautiful, thoroughly ingratiating music it has been my pleasure to hear” Four years later Evans and Halls recorded the second and last of their duo albums. “Intermodulation” continued the mix of standards with originals “Turn Out the Stars” from Evans and “All Across the City” from Hall. Writing for Allmusic, music critic Michael G. Nastos wrote of the album: “A duet recording between pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall is one that should retain high expectations to match melodic and harmonic intimacies with brilliant spontaneous musicianship. Where this recording delivers that supposition is in the details and intricacy with which Evans and Hall work, guided by simple framings of standard songs made into personal statements that include no small amounts of innovation.”
Bill Evans died in 1980 at age 50, and they never had the opportunity to record again. Jim Hall died in 2013 at age 83.
Thor and I owe a debt of gratitude to these fine musicians, and hope to rekindle some of the magic through our own interpretations of their music.