Portrait in Jazz

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Portrait in Jazz
Studio album by
RecordedDecember 28, 1959
StudioReeves Sound Studios, New York City
Length43:20 (original LP)
61:13 (CD reissue)
RLP 12-315
ProducerOrrin Keepnews
The Bill Evans Trio chronology
Everybody Digs Bill Evans
Portrait in Jazz

Portrait in Jazz is the fifth studio album by American jazz pianist Bill Evans as a leader, released in 1960. It is the first of only two studio albums to be recorded with his famous trio featuring bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian.


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).


Professional ratings
Review scores
Down Beat[1]
Allmusic [2]
Mojo(no rating) [3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[4]
Tom HullA−[5]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings[7]

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."[2] 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!"[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Come Rain or Come Shine" (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) – 3:24
  2. "Autumn Leaves" (Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert, Johnny Mercer) – 6:00
  3. "Witchcraft" (Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh) – 4:37
  4. "When I Fall in Love" (Victor Young, Edward Heyman) – 4:57
  5. "Peri's Scope" (Bill Evans) – 3:15
  6. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" (Cole Porter) – 4:36
  7. "Spring Is Here" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 5:09
  8. "Someday My Prince Will Come" (Frank Churchill, Larry Morey) – 4:57
  9. "Blue in Green" (Miles Davis, Bill Evans) – 5:25

Bonus tracks on CD reissue:

  1. "Come Rain or Come Shine" [Take 4] - 3:23
  2. "Autumn Leaves" [Take 9, mono] - 5:25
  3. "Blue in Green" [Take 1] – 4:39
  4. "Blue in Green" [Take 2] – 4:26


Additional personnel[edit]

  • Orrin Keepnews – producer
  • Jack Higgins – engineer
  • George Horn – mastering


  1. ^ Down Beat: September 15, 1960 Vol. 27, No. 19
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Portrait in Jazz > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Eccleston, Danny. "Portrait in Jazz > Review". Mojo. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  5. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Essential Jazz Albums of the 1950s". tomhull.com. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  6. ^ "Bill Evans – Portrait In Jazz ★★★★★". Jazzwise. 22 July 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  7. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 456. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.

External links[edit]