Jon Katz, P.C.

“Take care of the music” – Take care of the persuasive practice

Yow! I knew Bill Evans was a great musician, but did not realize until recently finding Universal Mind of Bill Evans (taped in 1966) on YouTube how fascinating he was about the creative and self teaching process (see exerprts here, here, and here).

I experienced a great performance by Evans in 1978 at the outdoors Nice jazz festival. At a later point, possibly on another day, he was looking very low-key in purple lenses behind one of the stages just a few feet from me. 

As with the seeds of being a great trial lawyer — and perhaps being great in anything else involving imagination and creative presentation — Evans described how he found the way to earn a living playing jazz: "Ultimately I came to the conclusion that all I must do is take care of the music, even if I do it in a closet, and if I really do that, someone is going to come and open the door to the closet and say ‘Hey, we’re looking for you.’"

One online commenter who viewed Universal Mind of Bill Evans said the video "has changed the way I think about music and life in general." Though I would not go as far as that, in the above-linked video excerpts, Evans transcends his ordinary and dated physical appearance to display a powerhouse human being who is inextricably intertwined wth his music.

I would be interested to know what music great Cecil Taylor would think about these Evans videos. Taylor was way ahead of his time by the 1960’s, and has reached amazing outer creative stratospheres by now, and ultimately got to the point of rejecting the term "jazz" music. I have spent time with Mr. Taylor, who is good friends with my friend Trudy Morse, and he is mesmerizing in multiple ways, including his fascination with bridges and their design and construction, and with the relationship of choreography to music.

Back to Universal Mind of Bill Evans, early in the first link he describes going beyond the usual conventions for doing a variation on a song theme, with "How About You?". 1991’s The Fisher King with Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges has at least three scenes in which "How About You" is prominent: Williams’s character leading a bunch of homeless people in the song, imagining people dancing to the song in a train station, and leading mental hospital patients in the song. 

Bill Evans passed away eleven years before The Fisher King was produced. He would have been a great addition to the film.

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