"I think Evans was the most important and influential white jazz musician after Bix Beiderbecke, and that statement is no reflection on the contribution or the importance of Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Dave Tough, Pee Wee Russell, Stan Getz — does Django Reinhardt belong on such a list? — or any other. Partly my statement seems valid to me because of Evans's intrinsic merit, and partly because his effect on the music has been so general—technically, in ways I have commented on, and emotionally in its uncompromising lyricism. At the same time, I think that in the future his work may come to seem somewhat isolated from the mainstream — as Bix's now does — but no less valuable and no less authentic and no less beautiful.
Bill Evans's contributions included, as I say, an abiding lyricism. Such a remark is an observation and a description; it also may seem a limitation. But would one complain that Lester Young was always playful? Coleman Hawkins dramatic? Or, for that matter, Beethoven humorless?
No, it would be as foolish to deny that lyricism pervades all aspects of Evans's work as to deny the element of privacy in some of it. There were times when I heard Bill Evans and thought that this music—so exposed and so vulnerable emotionally,so unprotected by the spirited ironies of the blues, so naked in its feeling—if you took it into the real world, that world would crush it and crush the man who made it. Perhaps after all that is what happened." -- Martin Williams