The Final Years of the Bill Evans Trio
Reviews and Interviews
Judy Carmichael, Host, NPR’s “Judy Carmichael’s Jazz Inspired” — “This book is a gift!” Hear Judy’s interview with Joe here.
Joe Locke, Vibraphonist-bandleader — "After reading a couple of musician biographies which read more like doctoral theses (boring), this one is personal and deeply felt — an account of Joe La Barbera’s journey from fan to friend (and fruitful collaborator) of the great pianist, replete with the joys and sorrows on that road, making it his story as well. Like the author’s own playing, it is honest, soulful, and imbued with beauty."
Nick Mondello, All About Jazz — “La Barbera's observations, perceptions, and interactions with Evans during that period — those both musical and mundane — are expressed with great clarity, insights, and an obvious love for the pianist ... The recollections presented here about the classic and not-so-classic performances put the reader in the seats of clubs, studios, and concert halls — and within the group musically. While it is not suggested in the book, readers will gain its tremendous value by bringing the recordings mentioned into play while working through this brief book. Rest assured that those that do that will gain immeasurably, as will readers who do that subsequent to reading. In a subtle way, the book is meant to be listened to.” Read the entire review here.
Marc Myers, JazzWax — “Joe was an intimate eyewitness to Evans’s swinging, introspective style as well as his self-destruction. Joe and his co-writer, Charles Levin, write lovingly but impartially about the trio’s ups and downs and Evans’s final hours prior to his passing. An informative first-hand read about a beautiful and tragic subject.” Read Marc's interview with Joe on JazzWax here.
Larry Goldings, Goldings, Bernstein, Stewart (formerly the Larry Goldings Trio), James Taylor — “An intimate glimpse into the life of one of jazz’s great trios. Joe’s honest and loving portrait of Bill Evans should be read by anyone interested in the colorful and often complicated world of creative artists.”
Scott Yanow, Jazz Critic, Allmusic.com, LA Jazz Scene-Jazz Around Town — “Times Remembered is quite readable and utterly fascinating. Anyone interested in the life and times of Bill Evans will want this excellent book ...” Click here to read Scott’s entire review.
Renee Rosnes, Acclaimed jazz pianist — “An insightful, intimate look into the mind, music and travels of pianist Bill Evans and his trio during his turbulent final years as remembered by his colleague and friend Joe La Barbera. Many gems are revealed from Evans’ reflections on recording Kind of Blue with Miles Davis to his conceptions on the art of playing trio to thought-provoking words of guidance for students of jazz … all providing a deeper recognition of the humanity and genius of the man.”
Bruce Klauber, Author of World of Gene Krupa and writer/producer of Warner Brothers’ DVD series Jazz Legends — “ ‘Times Remembered’ ” is the perfect book on jazz to be published at the perfect time. No other book on Evans has the personal, first-person point of view. This is an important, and perhaps essential, contribution to jazz scholarship. Joe La Barbera gives us a candid insight into one of the most important and influential performers in the history of jazz.”
Chris Smith, NYC-based drummer, author of The View from the Back of the Band: The Life and Music of Mel Lewis — “As the drummer with Bill Evans from 1978-80, author Joe La Barbera recounts stories that takes readers into the creative process of the Bill Evans Trio. From tune selection to musical interaction and time feel, La Barbera finally tells the inside story of the musical genius of Bill Evans. In addition to the rare musical insight, readers get a true sense of Bill Evans the friend, father, band leader and artist. It wasn’t always happy or easy to read about the end of Evans’ life, but thanks to La Barbera’s great writing, the story unfolded with humility, love, and honesty.”
Mike Price, Former trumpet with Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton and Toshiko Akiyoshi — “Mr. Joe LaBarbera has written an emotional, intelligent, and revealing expression of jazz aesthetics in this chronicle of his time as a member of the Bill Evans Trio. By tracing the evolution of the artistry of this unique musician, LaBarbera includes Bill’s early history and the subsequent development of the trios from the beginning. The reader can take comfort in knowing that this account was written by one who was a witness to and participant in Bill Evans’ compelling responsibility to the music. One can understand a little more why a committed musician will endure the uncertainty of the profession and seek the highest level of performance possible. Those who have been fortunate enough to have attended a Bill Evans concert can share this feeling.”
Thomas Cunniffe, Editor-Writer for Jazz History Online — “Joe La Barbera has dug deep into his memory bank for this memoir. He has not sensationalized the details, and while we can understand the pain and frustration of watching his employer, friend, and mentor gradually losing his will to live, La Barbera’s narrative makes us believe that he still holds a great deal of love and admiration for Bill Evans.” To read Cunniffe's entire review, click here.
Jerry Jazz Musician — Check out this interview with Joe, speaking to Robert Hecht at Jerry Jazz Musician.
Monk Rowe, Director, Fillius Jazz Archive; Creator of Jazz Backstory Podcast; Hamilton College, Clinton, NY — Email to Joe La Barbera: “Kudos on Times Remembered! I thoroughly enjoyed, the content, the writing, the passion and your respect for Bill, as well as the inside info about your other gigs and collaborations.” Check out Monk's interview with Joe.
George Friedenthal, Piano/Keyboards, Monday Madness Big Band, Kenny Loggins, Mary Wilson (of The Supremes), Dreamland: A Celebration of Joni Mitchell featuring Kimberly Ford — Joe La Barbera and Charles Levin’s book, “Times Remembered,” was a fascinating read for me. It has instantly become a permanent part of my collection of music and jazz literature that I have no doubt I will reread in the future. As a professional musician for many years and an admirer and student of the work of Bill Evans since my 20s, this book gave me insight into the music and the man that I never received from any other’s source. Especially interesting to me were the many contributions from the musicians whose lives were touched by Bill. Congratulations, Joe and Charles on this valuable and thoroughly entertaining book.