Bill Evans and Poulenc

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments
bill evansIt is well known that jazz pianist Bill Evans drew on Debussy and Ravel for inspiration for his jazz voicings. (He also pored over Wagner scores, but that seems to have been swept under the carpet a little).  I find the twists and turns in Evans’ harmonic writing and clear melodic lines sometimes remind me more of Poulenc’s piano writing more than Debussy’s, though. His melancholic masterpiece, ‘Very Early’ is a great example of how he takes melodic gestures and puts them through different harmonic colours each bar, which is a trait of Poulenc also. I’m not claiming any direct influences here, just found it interesting:
Whilst we’re on the subject on classical-jazz parallels: Wagner’s Tristan Chord, Scriabin’s Prometheus Chord, Stravinsky’s Augurs chord, Messiaen’s Chord of Resonance.  They all have close jazz cousins.Here’s Scriabin’s iconic chord. I could hear this as a lovely jazzy, quartal arrangement of a D13b. It’s all down to context of course: