Pianist Bill Evans’ contributions to jazz have inspired and informed countless other musicians. His influence is evident in the work of many guitarists including Jim Hall, Lenny Breau, Ted Greene, John Abercrombie, Ralph Towner, and John McLaughlin. Of all the notable and impactful elements of Evans’ playing, it is perhaps his harmonic sense that has most captivated generations of guitarists.
In this class, we will explore Evans’ reharmonization of the standard tune “Spring Is Here” beginning with a basic version of the tune as envisioned by composer Richard Rodgers and taking a deep dive into Evans’ reworking of the harmony. We will see how the original harmony of the tune relates to Evans’ new chord progression and find strategies for transferring those sounds to the guitar fretboard. Also included and discussed in detail will be chord voicings from Tom’s arrangement of the tune plus alternate voicings and ways to implement them. In addition, we will investigate Evans’ intriguing intro, interlude, and ending statements that use the concept of constant structure to create lush and dramatic harmonies within these sections.
Spring Is Here: Exploring the Harmony of Bill Evans covers:
- original version of the harmony of “Spring Is Here” with theoretical analysis
- Bill Evans’ reharmonization of “Spring Is Here” with in-depth harmonic analysis
- diminished major seven and diminished major seven flat 13 chords
- transcription of Evans’ intro, interlude, and ending arranged for guitar
- chord voicings for Tom’s realization of Evans’ arrangement, including contrapuntal moving inner, upper, and lower voices
- discussion of alternate voicings and extended techniques
- 92-minute running time
- includes 9 pages of written examples and exercises
- Musical examples from the video are provided in music notation, tablature, and chord grid form.
This class is based on Bill Evans’ recording of “Spring Is Here” from Bill Evans at Town Hall and can be heard here: