Acoustic Sounds

Bill Evans

You Must Believe in Spring



You Must Believe In Spring

Label: Craft Recordings

Produced By: Helen Keane and Tommy LiPuma

Engineered By: Al Schmitt

Mixed By: Al Schmitt

Mastered By: Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio

Lacquers Cut By: Kevin Gray

By: Michael Fremer

October 10th, 2022





Bill Evans "You Must Believe In Spring" Resurrected

posthumously released album got lost in Warner Brothers shuffle

Recorded in 1977 but not released until 1981 after Evans passed away September 15th, 1980 at age 51, You Must Believe In Spring was kind of "the great lost Bill Evans album". For those who bought it when it was first released as a single LP mastered by Doug Sax (Warner Brothers HS 3504) the question always was "Why was this not released immediately upon its completion?"

The music is certainly up there with Evans' best on record and on a more mundane note, the Al Schmitt recording at Capitol Studios in the big room pre splitting it into studio A and B was (and is) stunning—warm and rich sounding and of demo reference quality.

The 3 sessions recorded August 23, 24th and 25th, 1977 were this trio's finale, with Eddie Gomez leaving after almost a decade with Evans, who contributed two originals: "B Minor Waltz (for Ellaine)" and "We Will Meet Again (for Harry)". Both Ellaine, a former girlfriend, and Harry, Evan's brother committed suicide. Add the "Theme from "M*A*S*H", which is otherwise known as "Suicide Is Painless" and you have a pretty morbid landscape out of which comes great musical beauty. The title song with then new English lyrics by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand is from the French musical comedy film "The Young Girls of Rochefort". In the context of the two Evans originals, the title song's English language lyrics about renewal are poignant enough; Evans' passing adds additional weight.

The Craft reissue spreads the album to 3 sides of a double 45rpm set—two songs per side— which greatly benefits the overall sonic presentation. Kevin Gray cut lacquers using the original master tapes—no digits—though the digital stream version was Plangent Processed so if you have Qobuz you can compare to hear what's gained by the process's tape speed anomaly correction that can only be done after digitization.

Marc Myers' annotation adds a great deal of useful background, especially explaining why this album's release was delayed until five months after Evans's death. Tommy LiPuma, who signed Evans to a three LP deal and co-produced the album with Evans' manager Helen Keane explained in a 2016 interview that Keane wanted to get the three albums in the can to more quickly collect the $60K fee per album rather than wait the usual time between albums. Also, according to LiPuma, shortly after recording this album, he left to head A&M's Horizon Records and that too might have affected Keane's decision making. Unexplained still is why the title track credits include "Additional Remix and Editing...(by Columbia Records engineer) Frank Laico".

This version of the trio had been together since 1974 and had recorded a number of live and studio albums. The tight musical connection between the three is obvious here as are the spectacular sonics. Sadness, melancholy and regret make their appearance on the opener, which also announces the recording's clarity, transparency and textural beauty. Precisely what you'd expect from an Al Schmitt recording. The uptempo title tune adds optimism with Eddie Gomez's introductory high-on-the-neck bass lines summoning Evans to frolic across the keys and bring forth the melodic theme.

The wistful "Gary's Theme", by arranger/composer/vocalist Gary McFarland has its own tragic backdrop. McFarland had worked as an arranger for many big name artists (including Evans) and had released on Verve a big band Bossa Nova album and one in 1964 called Soft Samba on which he covers 4 Beatles songs and a few well known movie themes among a dozen tracks— as sophisticated elevator music (with Jobim and Kenny Burrell on guitar) over which McFarland "bah bah bahs", hums and whistles the melodies. He'd also been a co-founder of Skye Records (with Norman Schwartz, Gábor Szabó and Cal Tjader) and in 1968 released a big band "protest album" called America the Beautiful (Skye SK-8) subtitled "An Account of its Disappearance". Mostly, but not exclusively, the song titles deal with ecological disasters, but also suburbanization, litter and other similar topics. Eric Gayle plays tasty nasty electric guitar throughout.

I became familiar with McFarland because he'd arranged and conducted Stan Getz's Big Band Bossa Nova (Verve V6-8494) released in 1962 and by then, at age 14, I'd bought Getz's Jazz Samba with cover art by Olga Albizu and she'd painted the cover art on this one as well. Shortly after I bought Big Band Bossa Nova my mother announced that her decorator's daughter had gotten married to "....some musician, who knows if he makes a living? He's got one eye pointing in one direction, and one in another. Don't ask. It's a tragedy! He's not even Jewish! He's an Irishman!"

She'd married Gary McFarland. How cool! It clued me in to how crazy was my upbringing. Seven years later McFarland was dead. He'd ingested liquid methadone in a Greenwich Village bar. Was it suicide? An accident? A murder? We'll never know. The 55 Bar was the name of the club. Opened in 1919 it was a victim of Covid and closed this past May. It's where David Bowie went to scout players for his final and possibly greatest album Blackstar.

But I digress! All that's left to say is thank you Craft Recordings for reissuing You Must Believe In Spring in a beautiful gatefold double 45rpm LP format. This is not a "throwaway" Evans album. It's an essential part of the discography in my opinion and more worthy than some in the Riverside collection. Plus the sound is exceptional. Highly recommended.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: CR00455

Pressing Plant: RTI


Speed/RPM: 45

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: master tapes

Presentation: Multi LP