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A tribute to Bill Evans, with pianist Mark Little

Mark Little
Wilkinson Image & Design
Mark Little

Mark Little’s career has taken him to Europe and both coasts of America, and work with Bobby McFerrin, Pharoah Sanders, and Cleo Lane. Before all that, he grew up in Amarillo Texas, where he took to improvising at an early age.

"My teacher would give me a piece to learn, and by midweek I'd have it memorized and spend the rest of the week making up my own version of whatever that piece was, whether it was Beethoven, or Bach, or Chopin, or Schubert," Little said.

"But I was always afraid to let her know what I was doing... I was scared, you know, I thought I was going to get in trouble. But instead she asked me at one lesson, 'So, I understand you have your own version of this song... play it for me.' So I did. And instead of chastising me, she really encouraged me."

Little went on to form a series of bands, and while studying at Berklee College of Music in the 1970s, met pianist Bill Evans, who changed his way of thinking about music and life.

"Don't imitate anybody," Little explained. "You follow your own heart."

In this set, recorded live at Jazz, TX, Mark Little pays tribute to Bill Evans with his own version of songs like "Time Remembered," "Blue in Green," and "Funkallero."

Listen to Live at Jazz, TX every Saturday night at 7:00 on Texas Public Radio, or preview the show using the music player at the top of this story.