[61] Billy Bean – The Trio

6 Jun

I have always assumed that if I were somehow forced to choose a single genre to listen to from today onward, it would be Rock. Then I hear a recording like this and realize once again that I could spend the rest of my life just listening to Jazz and still be only just scratching the surface.

But what an enjoyable itch.

Billy Bean - The Trio

Billy Bean – The Trio











Tom Moon pulls a bizarre switch here, actually recommending an album – The Trio: Rediscovered – that appears never to have been officially released. It was certainly not widely released and consisted of a number of outtakes from the sessions that produced the sleek and mesmerizing set captured on The Trio – the album I actually tracked down and devoured.

If the Rediscovered recording really is even better than the stuff that I did get my hands on, it will be worth the years I spend fruitlessly chasing it . . .

The drumerless trio comprises of pianist Walter Norris, bassist Hal Gaylor and Billy Bean on guitar, and they produce a sound that is at once intricate and effortless, both laid-back and driven.

Whether riffing gorgeously on a standard like “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” or just letting rip on the aptly named “Scramble” I am left wondering where the specific album – if not the whole damn genre – has been my whole life.

It is another example of a recording on the list that really should be experienced by everyone at least one time.  Although I can’t imagine not being able to hear this exquisite jam again.

Too engaging to be ignored in the background. Too melodic to be dismissed as Free Jazz. Yet somehow Billy Bean recorded this one perfect set (and another couple of sides) then left the stage for good and I am far from the only one to never have come across his name.

What did he do from 1961 until his death (five decades later!) in 2012, and why didn’t it included more music? Although there is very little information online, there does appear to be a published biography out there that I’ll be keeping an eye out for.

In the meantime I’ll just close my eyes, listen the the music Bean did leave us, and wonder if he just didn’t believe that he could ever top this.

Next Week: The Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

Owned before blogging? No. (3 of 61 = 5%)
Heard before blogging? No. (5 of 61 = 8%)
Recommend? Yes. (48 of 61 = 79%)


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