Portrait in Jazz is an album by American jazz pianist Bill Evans, released in 1960.
Personnel: Bill Evans (p) Scott LaFaro (b) Paul Motian (dr)
Recorded: December 28, 1959 Reeves Sound Studios, New York
Producer: Orrin Keepnews
0:00 “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer)
3:30 “Autumn Leaves” (Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert, Mercer)
9:21 “Witchcraft” (Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh)
13:54 “When I Fall in Love” (Victor Young, Edward Heyman)
18:51 “Peri’s Scope” (Bill Evans)
22:05 “What Is This Thing Called Love?” (Cole Porter)
26:41 “Spring Is Here” (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
31:48 “Someday My Prince Will Come” (Frank Churchill, Larry Morey)
36:42 “Blue in Green” (Miles Davis, Evans)
42:05 Autumn Leaves (Alt. Take)
Eight months after his successful collaboration with Miles Davis on the album Kind of Blue, Evans recorded Portrait in Jazz with a new group (the Bill Evans Trio) that helped change the direction of modern jazz.
Most noticeably, LaFaro’s bass is promoted from a mere accompanying instrument to one of almost equal status to the piano (though not to the extent that it would be on later albums such as Sunday at the Village Vanguard). It is one of Evans’ more up-tempo and swinging albums (the presence of several ballads notwithstanding).
Reviewing it for Allmusic, music critic Scott Yanow wrote of the album: “… the influential interpretations were far from routine or predictable at the time. LaFaro and Motian were nearly equal partners with the pianist in the ensembles… A gem.” Danny Eccleston of Mojo wrote: “Portrait In Jazz – Evans’ fifth record as a band leader – gets you every which way. At its least great, it is merely brilliant… But what makes Evans extra-extra-special is the way his playing drags you in and shares the vulnerability at its core. Oh, the humanity!”