|Celebrate The Musical Legacy Of
Jazz Giant Gil Evans
At Multiple December Events
Discover the enduring influence of renowned NEA Jazz Master and multiple Grammy winner
Gil Evans at Dec. 15 NYPL panel discussion, and more
You might say December is unofficially Gil Evans month in the Big Apple, as three exciting events turn the spotlight on this legendary jazz composer, arranger, pianist, and long-time Miles Davis collaborator. On the schedule this month are a lively symposium, the release of the first studio album by the Gil Evans Orchestra in more than four decades, and an all-star CD release gig that’s sure to attract a who’s who of the New York music scene.
Gil Evans made a lasting mark on numerous areas of jazz. He led swing dance bands, pioneered the cool school of jazz, and did landmark work with jazz icon Miles Davis, which can be heard on enduringly acclaimed albums such as Sketches of Spain, Porgy and Bess, Birth of the Cool,and others. Evans also delved into electronic music and jazz-rock fusion, drawing new listeners with his arrangements of Jimi Hendrix songs for large brass- and synth-heavy ensembles.
“Gil was a great innovator,” says his son Miles Evans. “He had the next great sound as an orchestrator and arranger, after Duke Ellington.” Gil Evans also had a knack for attracting the cream of the musical crop. In addition to mentoring and collaborating with the greatest jazz musicians across a half century, he formed strong ties and recorded with pop icons like Sting and Paul Schaffer. In recognition of his work, Evans garnered three Grammys and 13 nominations, received one of the first Guggenheim Fellowships ever awarded to a jazz musician, and was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1985, among other honors.
On Dec. 15, at 11 a.m., MOMENT NYC and the NYPL are hosting a symposium on the jazz genius at NYPL for the Performing Arts in the Astor Gallery at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza. Expect to gain insights into Gil Evans’ art and more through presentations by his biographer, Stephanie Stein Crease, the author of “Gil Evans: Out of the Cool: His Life and Music”; Miles Evans, and NYPL’s David McMullin, who will present highlights from the library’s Gil Evans archive. And as with any Gil Evans event, there’s always the chance there will be surprise special guests on hand.
The NYPL for the Performing Arts setting is a good fit for the event, Miles Evans says. “At NYPL, they’re very knowledgeable about Gil’s music. They’re aware that you can hear the Ravel chords in his music, you can hear Debussy; and the people at NYPL know Gil went to the library to listen and study up.”
The event also will include a display of photos, sketches and audio samples from the Evans family’s collection, a Q&A session, and samples of music from a new recording from the Gil Evans Orchestra, “Hidden Treasures Monday Nights, Volume One” (Bopper Spock Suns Music).
The brand-new album, set for Dec. 7 release, is the first studio recording by the Gil Evans Orchestra in more than 40 years. It features several mainstays of the band that held court every Monday for more than a decade at the fabled Greenwich Village club Sweet Basil. Instead of going the “greatest hits” route, “Hidden Treasures” features seldom-heard tunes from the extensive Gil Evans repertoire, many of them written by long-time band stalwarts. “We wanted to showcase the fantastic cast that played with the band,” Noah Evans says. “We wanted to bring back memories of all those great Mondays at Sweet Basil, and bring Gil back to people’s awareness.”
More than a dozen Monday Night Band alumni and several special guests will be on hand Dec. 22 to celebrate the release of “Hidden Treasures Monday Nights, Volume One” at the Cutting Room (44 E. 32ndSt., NY; tickets and info: https://tickets.thecuttingroomnyc.com/event/1796799).
MOMENT NYC’s mission is to preserve New York’s history of diverse music communities past, present, and future (www.momentnyc.org).
MOMENT NYC and the NYPL
Gil Evans Symposium
Saturday, December 15, 11AM to 1PM
NYPL for the Performing Arts in the Astor Gallery
40 Lincoln Center Plaza (65th St and Columbus Ave)
New York, NY, 10023
Stephanie Crease (Gil’s Biographer) and David McMullin (NYPL)
• 11:00-11:10 Entrance audio
– Introductions and acknowledgements (David McMullin)
• 11:10-11:20 The Individualism of Gil Evans (Stephanie Crease – images)
• 11:20-11:25 Growing up with Gil
(Miles Evans & Stephanie Crease – images)
• 11:25-11:30 Gil’s Life & NYC Stories (whole panel – audio/images)
• 11:30-12:00 Selections from the NYPL collections and discussion (audio/images – David McMullin)
• 12:00-12:10 The legacy of the Gil Evans Monday Night Orchestra
(audio from new album/video – Miles Evans)
• 12:10-12:20 Open forum for comments and questions (panel)
• 12:20-12:30 Closing
Gil Evans Orchestra
CD Release Show
HIDDEN TREASURES MONDAY NIGHTS
Saturday, December 22nd 9:30pm
The Cutting Room
44 E32nd St.
Between Park and Madison
New York, NY 10016
Tickets & Info
Photo Credit: Carol Friedman
Kenwood Dennard: Drums
Mino Cinelu: Percussion
Mark Egan: Bass
Pete Levin: Keyboards
Miles Evans: Trumpet
Shunzo Ohno: Trumpet
Mike Mossman: Trumpet
Conrad Herwig: Trombone
David Taylor: Bass Trombone
John Clark: French Horn
Rob Scheps: Alto Sax & Flute
Alex Foster: Tenor & Soprano Sax
Alden Banta: Baritone Sax
And surprise Special Guests!
Music Charges + Any Minimums: $20
Purchase Ticket Direct Link
GIL Evans Orchestra “Hidden Treasures” (Miles Evans Promo)
Band Website: http://www.gilevans.com/
Venue Website: http://thecuttingroomnyc.com/
|Musical sparks fly from this group of New York’s finest musicians with a varied program of compositions that recall Gil Evans’ infamous Monday night sessions at the Greenwich Village club, Sweet Basil.
THE GIL EVANS ORCHESTRA
“HIDDEN TREASURES MONDAY NIGHTS, VOLUME ONE ”
Artist: THE GIL EVANS ORCHESTRA
Title: HIDDEN TREASURES MONDAY NIGHTS VOLUME ONE
Label: BOPPER SPOCK SUNS MUSIC GEO-34752
Release Date: DECEMBER 07, 2018
UPC Code: 860000347525
Track listing and Running Time
1. SUBWAY Pete Levin 10:56
2. LL FUNK Miles Evans 5:29
3. I SURRENDER Delmar Brown/Alex Foster 7:17
4. GROOVE FROM THE LOUVRE John Clark 9:50
5. LUNAR ECLIPSE Masabumi Kikuchi 6:28
6. MOONSTRUCK Gil Evans 1:49
7. ELEVEN Gil Evans 5:24
Kenwood Dennard – Drums, Mino Cinelu – Percussion Mark Egan – bass Pete Levin – keyboards, Miles Evans – trumpet Shunzo Ohno – trumpet David Taylor – Bass Trombone, John Clark – French Horn, Chris Hunter – Alto Sax, Flute, Alex Foster – Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax Darryl Jones – Bass (Tune 2), Matthew Garrison – Bass & Bass Solo (Tune 2), Vernon Reid – Guitar (Tune 2), Paul Shaffer – Fender Rhodes (Tune 2), David Mann – Alto Sax (Tune 2), Gil Goldstein – Piano (Tunes 1, 2, 5, 6), Delmar Brown – Synthesizer (Tunes 1, 2, 5), Charles Blenzig – Synthesizer (Tunes 2, 3, 4, 7), Gabby Abularach – Guitars (Tune 1, 4, 5), Jon Faddis – Trumpet (Tunes 1, 5, 6), Dave Bargeron -Trombone (Tunes 1, 5, 6), Gary Smulyan – Baritone Sax (Tunes 1, 5, 6), Birch Johnson – Trombone (Tunes 3, 4, 7,) Alex Sipiagin – Trumpet (Tunes 3, 4, 7), Alden Banta – Baritone Sax (Tunes 3, 4, 7).
Monday Nights” is not only the first studio recording of the Gil Evans Orchestra in over forty years, it’s also offers some of the most audacious and electrifying music of the new millennium. The late Gil Evans was one of the most respected orchestrators in jazz history and his fabled collaborations with Miles Davis, including “Birth of the Cool,” “Sketches of Spain” and “Porgy and Bess,” set the gold standard for modern jazz arranging. Accordingly, Evans played a key role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz and jazz fusion. All of these influences are strikingly present on “Monday Nights,” a particularly contemporary incarnation of Evans’ music. After a string of gigs that started in the late 70s, the Gil Evans Orchestra began a run of Monday night engagements in 1983 at the Greenwich Village club, Sweet Basil, which resulted in a number of successful live recordings by Gil Evans and the Monday Night Orchestra. The gig continued sporadically until 1994. Mr. Evans had a knack for bringing out the best in his groups comprised of first-call New York players including David Sanborn, Alan Rubin and Tom “Bones Malone,” and such musicians as George Adams, Hannibal Marvin Peterson and Howard Johnson. Gil’s sons, trumpeter Miles Evans and his brother Noah are keeping the flame alive with “Hidden Treasures,” a trilogy of recordings of which “Monday Nights” is the first. The concept here, is to feature compositions that the Orchestra played live in the late 70s and early 80s. Forthcoming are “The Classics,” featuring modern renderings of Evans’ original arrangements, including “My Ship,” and “The Meaning of the Blues,” and, the final release in the series, “Gil & Anita,” named for the late jazz icon and his wife. “Subway,” written and arranged by keyboardist Pete Levin opens the album and introduces the imperial command of the ensemble, anchored by drummer Kenwood Dennard. With dynamic twists and turns, and subtle musical shadings, this is one hell of a subway ride. Commanding solos by trombonist Dave Bargeron and tenor saxist Alex Foster, offering some respect for Wayne Shorter, add to the excitement. Trumpeter Miles Evans wrote and arranged “LL Funk” and once again Kenwood Dennard drives the music with a powerful funk beat good for both listening and dancing. With Darryl Jones on bass, special guests’ solos abound: keyboardist Paul Shaffer, even more laid back than usual; the criminally underrated Matthew Garrison and his highly original bass: and Vernon Reid bringing a thick almost heavy metal guitar tip to the track. The icing on the cake is David Mann, who weaves his bluesy, potent alto sax throughout the track. “I Surrender,” written by Delmar Brown and Alex Foster, and arranged by Alex and Charles Blenzig is a musical requiem for a heavyweight. Mr. Brown, a superb keyboardist who played with the Gil Evans Orchestra as well as Pat Martino, passed away in 2017 and “I Surrender” is his tribute. He is also present on several tracks recorded before his passing. A true musical heavyweight, Alex Foster offers another side of his soulful, highly expressive tenor. A very popular composition from the Sweet Basil days, “Groove from the Louvre,” written and arranged by John Clark, features the composer on french horn, trumpeters Shunzo Ohno and then Alex Sipiagin, percussionist Mino Cinelu, who came to prominence with Miles Davis and Weather Report, bass trombonist Dave Taylor. Deft and determined, drummer Dennard anchors the band through the gentle opening, and then the hard edged groove that follows. There’s a regal, totally swinging feel to the track, with superb ensemble work that shows this is more than just a group of soloists, but a real orchestra. “Lunar Eclipse” written by Masabumi Kiuchi and arranged by the master himself, Gil Evans, is evocative and cinematic. An Evans protégé, Gil Goldstein solos here, memorably, amidst a dreamy synthesizer background which follows him through his two solos on the track, the first of which gives away to Mino Cinelu on bongos and then drummer Dennard, raising the musical stakes once again. It’s a heady musical mixture. More of the master on “Moonstruck,” which is short, whimsical and very tasty. Tracking at 1:49, it’s an ensemble feature that’s both intriguing and attention grabbing. The recording closes with “Eleven,” also straight from the source, a Gil Evans composition and arrangement, which originally appeared as “Petits Machins (Little Stuff)on the 1968 Miles Davis recording, Filles de Kilimanjaro. The set closer is a bristling swinger, a fitting capper to this powerful set of absolutely stunning music. The groove is infectious, a potent platform for solos by alto saxophonist Chris Hunter, Charles Blenzig on electric piano and Alex Foster, who returns on tenor and continues to amaze. Gil Evans Lives!
Monday Nights is available for purchase on Pledge Music. http://goo.gl/4rs6kG