Bill Evans died 35 years ago today at the age of 51. Long before everybody dug him, his producer, Orrin Keepnews, titled a 1958 album Everybody Digs Bill Evans. The cover had autographed endorsements from Miles Davis, George Shearing, Ahmad Jamal and Cannonball Adderley.
“Bill Evans has rare originality and taste,” Adderley wrote, “and the even rarer ability to make his conception of a number seem the definitive way to play it.” Adderley was perceptive and the album title was prophetic. Soon, Evans moved from acclaim by the jazz inner circle to the admiration of musicians everywhere and an audience that expanded throughout his regrettably short life. He had a profound effect on the development of the music. From Everybody Digs Bill Evans, we remember him with “Peace Piece.”