The camera holds its close-up on the pianist’s hands, his long fingers adding delicate inner voicings to the familiar melody of Come Rain or Come Shine. Then, very slowly, the camera tracks along the player’s arms and up his body until it reaches his head, which is lowered far enough to be virtually parallel with the keyboard. Nothing is intrusive, nothing is hurried, everything is keyed to the mood of rapt intensity. Captured in black and white because that’s all there was, the shot perfectly complements this music, the jazz of the 1960s. It’s a rare example of television finding a visual language to match a sound.
Bill Evans was that pianist, and Jazz 625 was the programme. The hour of music he recorded for the BBC in London on that day in 1965 survives as a priceless document of one of the most influential jazz musicians of his era, a man whose singular vision played a key role in Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue. And the…
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