Gil Evans for a stay-at-home Sunday. Recorded at Radio France, Studio 104 in Paris on November 4, 1976. For all the decades Gil Evans was active, he never stopped reaching, exploring and trying out new things. It was that permanent curiosity that always kept him at the top of his game, but it also made him someone sought after by other artists to collaborate with. His list of accomplishments and artists he’s worked with run the gamut; a virtual who’s who in the field of Jazz (and some Rock). He was widely acknowledged as one of the greatest orchestrators in Jazz, playing a pivotal role in the development of Cool Jazz, Free Jazz and Jazz Fusion. And if there was one collaboration that became the focal point, not only in his career, but also a turning point in Jazz, it would be his groundbreaking work with Miles Davis, an association that spanned the better part of the 1950s, through the 1960s.
In the late 60’s/early 70s he became interested in the music of Jimi Hendrix. At one point there was talk of a collaboration between Evans and the guitarist, but sadly Hendrix’ death in 1970 prevented any possibility from going any further. However, it did inspire Evans to branch out, to include electric guitars and basses in his later work, and his arrangement of Little Wing became a staple in his live performances for a number of years.
The music of Gil Evans is a treasure trove of brilliant ideas and milestone projects. His recorded legacy is vast and if you’re not all that familiar with his work you can start just about anyplace in his career and be suitably hooked.
And you can start right now.