Sunday at the Village Vanguard

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Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Sunday at the Village Vanguard.jpg
Live album by
ReleasedEarly October 1961[1]
RecordedJune 25, 1961
VenueVillage Vanguard, New York City
Length42:03 (original LP)
68:16 (CD reissue with bonus tracks)
ProducerOrrin Keepnews
Bill Evans chronology
Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Waltz for Debby

Sunday at the Village Vanguard is a live album by jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans and his Trio consisting of Evans, bassist Scott LaFaro, and drummer Paul Motian. Released in 1961, the album is routinely ranked as one of the best live jazz recordings of all time.


Sunday at the Village Vanguard was drawn from material recorded during five sets on June 25, 1961, at the Village Vanguard in New York City. This was the last performance by the Bill Evans Trio with bassist Scott LaFaro, who was killed in a car accident eleven days after the recording.[2]

Evans and producer Orrin Keepnews reportedly selected the tracks for Sunday at the Village Vanguard to best feature LaFaro's masterly performance on bass, beginning and ending with two tracks ("Gloria's Step" and "Jade Visions") written by LaFaro himself, and with all the others featuring solos by him. This album is routinely ranked as one of the best live jazz recordings of all time.[3][4]

Additional material from the same day's performance was released in a second album Waltz for Debby (also 1961), as was other material in another LP Bill Evans — More From the Vanguard. The entire day's recordings were released in 2005 as The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Down Beat
(Original LP version)
4/5 stars[5]
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]
Penguin Guide to Jazz5/5 stars[4]
All About Jazz5/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide5/5 stars[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[8]

Writing for AllMusic, music critic Thom Jurek wrote of the album: "This trio is still widely regarded as his finest, largely because of the symbiotic interplay between its members. This is a great place to begin with Evans."[2] C. Michael Bailey of All About Jazz wrote: "Along with bassist wunderkind Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, Evans perfected his democratic vision of trio cooperation, where all members performed with perfect empathy and telepathy... It is these performances, currently available as Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby that comprise the number one best jazz live recording in this present series."[6]

The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

In 2000 it was voted number 946 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[9]


In 2006, Riverside issued a three-CD box set containing virtually all the material recorded at the Village Vanguard (one number has been lost). While all of this music was available on the Riverside Bill Evans box set, this re-issue has had the audience ambiance enhanced and includes introductions, on-stage discussions between the musicians, interaction with the audience, and a few bars of music that Evans improvised to fill out the tape at the end of the night.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Gloria's Step" (take 2) (Scott LaFaro) – 6:09
  2. "My Man's Gone Now" (George Gershwin) – 6:21
  3. "Solar" (Miles Davis) – 8:52
  4. "Alice in Wonderland" (take 2) (Sammy Fain) – 8:34
  5. "All of You" (take 2) (Cole Porter) – 8:17
  6. "Jade Visions" (take 2) (Scott LaFaro) – 3:44

CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Gloria's Step" (take 3) – 6:54
  2. "Alice in Wonderland" (take 1) – 6:59
  3. "All of You" (take 3) – 8:03
  4. "Jade Visions" (take 1) – 4:16




  1. ^ Billboard Oct 16, 1961
  2. ^ a b c Jurek, Thom. Bill Evans Trio: Sunday at the Village Vanguard – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  3. ^ All About Jazz: Best Live Jazz Recordings (1953-65)
  4. ^ a b "Penguin Guide To Jazz: "Five Star" Recordings". Penguin Guide to Jazz. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  5. ^ Down Beat: March 1, 1962 vol. 29, no. 5
  6. ^ a b Bailey, C. Michael (November 1, 2005). "Bill Evans Trio: Sunday At The Village Vanguard & Waltz For Debby". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on April 26, 2020. Retrieved April 26, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 74. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  9. ^ Colin Larkin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 287. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.

External links[edit]