The music of Gil Evans in all its colours, textures and passion appears to have an unstoppable momentum under the baton of Ryan Truesdell. For the uncontrived and unalloyed delights of Gil Evans’ multi-layered work this is a recital of rare questing elegance. While our ears have become accustomed after being entertained by the exquisite earlier Gil Evans record, Centennial this gripping new recording, crisply executed by Ryan Truesdell and his extraordinary ensemble has an energy, drive and polish entirely apt for the compelling admixture of Gil Evans’ magical “lost” works some of which even pre-dates what he was to do with Miles Davis. Listeners will not be able to resist the gloriously textured works that Ryan Truesdell has resurrected in a most inimitable manner. I could not. The brilliant orchestrations are echoed throughout the simple yet evocative Gil Evans repertoire that spans two decades of work from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. The fact that they were unearthed is something to be really excited about. There is something rather moving about the black-and-white hues of these arrangements and the romance of the era that inspired them.
“Gypsy Jump” a chart written during the war (1942) has a remarkable joi de vivre despite coming at a time of darkness and foreboding. And the post-war “Avalon Town”, the “Easy Living Medley” and “Sunday Drivin’”(the former 1946 and the two latter charts—1947, respectively) fall most happily into that rich, optimistic vein of music for a brass and woodwinds orchestra for which both Gil Evans and Ryan Truesdell are so well endowed. Their rhythmical character, which is played here with a dynamic precision and the brisk and upward dimension for the orchestra’s elements (were there strings here, we might have wished for a concertante dimension) has an attractive neo-baroque edge redolent of Gil Evans’ spectral work, especially in the outer movements of the pieces. This can also be said for the rather later, splendidly colourful “Concorde” (1964), which is more like a sinfonietta in its fuller orchestration. Yet, as I so often find with Gil Evans, his most memorable ideas are expressed with a more romantic sensibility, as in the slow movement of “The Time of the Barracudas”, an affecting gem which looks forward to the finale of “How Eye The Moon” as well as in the dramatic overture to the “Easy Living Medley”, which looks to a hyper romanticism in terms of its harmony and rhetorical gestures.
The ubiquitous ghost of Gil Evans is stripped of all formulaic signposts. The exquisite curvature of the music throughout these new charts, played here for the first time at the Jazz Standard never sounded so effortless—and yet Mr. Truesdell identifies only with what pleases him in the gestural world of a classic Gil Evans performance. Lines of Colour is a masterclass on several levels. But this is no hair-shirt experience. The deft yielding rubatos in the slow movements afford an irresistible warmth which provide a compelling foil to the directional focus and visceral originality of the playing, especially in the reconstruction, or indeed I should say construction (because of the maiden voyage) of these pieces. Absolutely nothing is missing here: certainly not the soft-edged radiance of the arrangements and this is also music-making which can only ravish in its undimmed personality and artistic ambition.
Track ListPersonnel: Ryan Truesdell: conductor; Jesse Han: flute (8); Jessica Aura Taskov: flute (8); Steve Kenyon: flute (8), clarinet (5, 6); Steve Wilson: soprano saxophone (2, 7, 9), alto saxophone (3, 6, 10, 11), alto flute (1, 4); clarinet (3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11); Dave Pietro: alto saxophone ( 3 – 8, 10, 11), flute (2), alto flute (1), clarinet (5, 6, 8); Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone (1, 3, 6 – 8, 10, 11), flute (4, 9), clarinet (6, 8); Scott Robinson: tenor saxophone (`3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11), clarinet (6), bass clarinet (5, 6, 8); Brian Landrus: baritone saxophone (3, 6, 8, 10, 11), clarinet (6), bass clarinet (5, 6, 8); Tom Christensen: alto flute (1), oboe (4, 7); English Horn (4, 7); Alden Banta: bassoon (1, 4, 7), bass clarinet (2), baritone saxophone (7); Adam Unsworth: French horn); David Peel: French horn (2 – 6, 8, 10); Augie Haas: trumpet (2 – 11); Greg Gisbert: trumpet (2 – 11); Mat Jodrell: trumpet (2 – 6, 8, 10, 11); Ryan Keberle: trombone (2, 3, 5 – 11); Marshall Gilkes: trombone: trombone; George Flynn: bass trombone (2, 4, 7, 9); Marcus Rojas: tuba (2, 4, 5, 7 – 10); James Chirillo: guitar (2 – 6, 8, 10); Frank Kimbrough: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Wendy Gilles: voice (5, 8, 10); Lois Martin: viola (4)
Label: ArtistShare Blue Note | Release date: March 2015
Website: http://gilevansproject.com/ | Buy music on: amazon
About The Gil Evans Project
The Gil Evans Project was born out of composer/producer Ryan Truesdell’s desire to restore and perform Gil Evans’ music directly from Gil’s original manuscripts. For decades, the only way to perform Gil Evans’ music was through transcriptions, which are often inaccurate, creating a misrepresentation of Gil’s music. The magic of Gil’s writing lies in the details – his use of harmony, very specific instrumentation, his highly unique approach to orchestration, and a very detailed rhythmic and notational structure. Without Gil’s original scores, it is nearly impossible to achieve the accuracy of these elements and perform this music as he originally intended. Read more…