From guest writer, Rocco Dapice:
On Sunday, October 22 at 3pm, I’ll be joining Mr. Frank DeLigio again for one of the Greenburgh Public Library’s monthly “Jazz Conversations.” Frank will provide audio and video clips to illustrate the creative and influential life of pianist Bill Evans, and I’ll be demonstrating at the keyboard unique characteristics of his pioneering playing. I’ll also be performing the note-for-note transcription of Evan’s rendition of “Here’s That Rainy Day” from his 1968 solo album entitled, Alone.
One day when I was a student at the Crane School of Music, the jazz director overheard me practicing an original composition in one of the upstairs classrooms, then came in and said, “Hey, why don’t you audition for one of the jazz ensembles?” I told him that I was a classical performance major, and though I had been playing jazz saxophone for years, I hadn’t really played modern jazz on the piano. He invited me to come to his office one afternoon to talk about it.
After being seated at a studio piano in Mr. Bret Zvacek’s office, he said, “Listen to this, it’s Bill Evans playing a tune called ‘Peace Peace.’ He was a classical pianist who played jazz.” He pressed play, and I was mesmerized, I had never heard anything like it before. Evans’ playing was as melodic and strong, and as serious and sensitive as a Chopin Nocturne, but, it was jazz. Bret also recommended I check out the Evans solo recording called Alone. Shortly thereafter I remember sitting in a Crane School library listening room awestruck over Alone’s track 1, “Here’s That Rainy Day.” I was blown away. That’s the day (the tune, to be exact) I fell in love with jazz piano. I thought: This is how I want to play.
I’m currently enrolled in an advanced jazz-piano class at Julliard, and still listening, studying, and playing jazz. For me, jazz piano began with Bill Evans’ “Peace Peace.” And “Here’s That Rainy Day,” which you can come hear me play on Oct 22! I hope you’ll join us. Come hear why trumpeter Miles Davis said, “I’ve sure learned a lot from Bill Evans. He plays the piano the way it should be played.”