Liz Story has always gone straight to the source when the music moved her. It was in her first year at Hunter College in New York six years ago that she first heard pianist Bill Evans playing at the Bottom Line. "I was literally stunned," she confesses from her home in Los Angeles. "In my life it's like before and after Bill Evans."
She quit college soon after and asked Evans to give her lessons. He declined but recommended a teacher. Then, when she heard albums of the late Thelonious Monk, she was inspired to call him up for lessons. But his son informed her that his father did not teach.
So she immersed herself in the recorded works of pianists Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Count Basie and McCoy Tyner and then discovered Joanne Brackeen. "I went and listened to her constantly--I was just there all the time and was amazed at her strength and energy and profuse ideas and also the fact that she was a woman." Earlier this year Story's first album was released on the Windham Hill label. And she is now playing the concert and club circuit throughout the country. She will be at Blues Alley tomorrow night sharing the bill with pianist Scott Cossu.