New documentary exploring the life of jazz icon Bill Evans hits North Vancouver

Capilano University will showcase Bill Evans: Time Remembered, a documentary that chronicles the life of a jazz great.

Bill Evans: Time Remembered showcases at Capilano University for one night only

Pianist Bill Evans, left, and singer Tony Bennett collaborated on a pair of albums in the '70s that have become jazz classics, and were recently reissued as The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings. (Concord Music Group)

He played alongside Miles Davis at the height of New York City's jazz scene in the 1950s — and now a new documentary showcased at Capilano University will tell the lifelong tale of one of the modern masters of jazz.

Bill Evans: Time Remembered tells the story of jazz icon Bill Evans, known as one of the pioneers of modern jazz. He's garnered seven Grammy Awards, a success that includes the highly coveted lifetime achievement award, which he was awarded posthumously.

"He's Bach. He's Mozart — he's all those guys combined," said the event's co-producer Laurie Verchomin on CBC's Hot Air. "He's Bill Evans."

Verchomin will co-present the documentary with Capilano's jazz department at Blue Shore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts.

She was once a jazz student in Edmonton, before entering a romantic relationship with Evans. She chronicled their time together in the book The Big Love: Life and Death with Bill Evans.

Verchomin, who now lives on the Sunshine Coast, will hold a Q & A after the screening with jazz musician Miles Black, who will also perform Bill Evans compositions at the event.

"I hope that people just come away with an understanding what it takes to create beauty, and what a worthwhile pursuit it is," said Verchomin.

'A lifelong fantasy'

Verchonin now runs The Bill Evans Legacy Organization, which is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Evans' music and legacy. She first met the jazz great at a Ukranian church in Edmonton, where she was part of a jazz society that managed to book the musician for a concert.

"​He was like the high priest of Jazz," said Verchomin, adding that she stared at him in awe. She says it wasn't long before the musician took an interest in her.

"He was very attracted to me because I was a young 22-year-old woman," said Verchomin. "So he invited me to come to his hotel room — but I had a boyfriend at the time, so it wasn't really possible."

A persistent Evans eventually convinced Verchomin to come to New York to visit him. He took her on a five-day date, and at the very end, he wrote a song for her, aptly titled Laurie.

"It was pretty overwhelming to imagine someone like that would dedicate something so beautiful to me. It's really been a lifelong fantasy to be part of Bill's life, and to be connected to him in that way."

Bill Evans: Time Remembered will showcase at Blue Shore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts at Capilano University on Sept. 15. The film is directed by Bruce Spiegel.

With files from CBC's Hot Air

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Bill Evans: Time Remembered makes its Canadian premier at Capilano University