Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Gil Evans & Ten
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Gil Evans was already a major force in jazz arranging through his work with Claude Thornhill and Miles Davis, but this 1957 date was his first opportunity to record as a leader. The midsize group will recall his influence ... more »
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Gil Evans was already a major force in jazz arranging through his work with Claude Thornhill and Miles Davis, but this 1957 date was his first opportunity to record as a leader. The midsize group will recall his influence on the Birth of the Cool sessions. Rather than the uniform instruments of the conventional big band, Evans picked his instruments individually for what they could contribute to distinctive tone colors. Thus the band includes a French horn in the brass and a reed section of soprano and alto saxophones and bassoon. The result is a series of highly distinct textures and a clarity that illuminates each piece. Evans's inventiveness extended to applying his gift for complex harmonies to Leadbelly's "Ella Speed," a sign of the openness that would later lead him to the music of Jimi Hendrix. The excellent soloists here include Evans's longtime associate John Carisi on trumpet, Lee Konitz on alto, and a young Steve Lacy on soprano. --Stuart Broomer
Music I Still Can Hear
David Keymer | Modesto CA | 04/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been collecting jazz records for fifty-five years now and this is still one of my favorites. When it first appeared at the tail end of the fifties, Downbeat gave it a mixed review (3-1/2 stars, I believe) because it seemed too close to dance music (echoes of Evans's work for the Claude Thornhill band) and because of Evans's "composer" piano. There's no question that "Jambangle" is hokey, both the piano and the composition. But the best of this album is very, very good, and there is a great deal that is best. Take "Ella Speed" for instance, which features a driving solo by Steve Lacy, a premiere soloist even at this early stage of his career, and --for those who know him mostly for his austere peformances of today (which I enjoy, by the way)-- surprisingly melodic. Or "If You Could See Me Now," a lovely Tadd Dameron ballad, featuring underrated trombonist Jimmy Cleveland. The absolute best on the album, though, is "Big Stuff," Evans's transfiguration of a Billie Holiday song, with a floating clouds arrangement, exquisite solos by Cleveland and Evans, and riding out on bass trombone. This album may not be the best Gil Evans album --Miles Ahead or Great Jazz Standards (Johnny Coles! Budd Johnson! Steve Lacy! Jimmy Cleveland!) or Out of the Cool qualify as that. Evans's piano playing is on the verge of saccharine at times moments. But you will be hearing these songs -- the arrangements and soloists from this superior album-- inside your head for years to come. Dave Keymer, Dubai, UAE"
Recalling Downbeat on Two Essential Gil Evans Discs
Peter Jones | Ruston, LA United States | 03/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Keymer's otherwise excellent review contains a misplaced recollection of the original Downbeat review. Don Gold gave it 4 1/2 stars, calling Evans' work "exhilarating" and "'must' listening for musicians," while hailing the importance of his contribution to the development of jazz. Gold does in fact give 3 1/2 stars to "New Bottle Old Wine" because of Cannonball Adderly's performance, which he feels is not up to the level of Evans' writing. In my opinion both are essential recordings."