- GIL EVANS: Out of the Cool, His Life and Music
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GIL EVANS: Out of the Cool, His Life and Music
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My Content Membership has its privileges! Jazz Near You Partners. Ryan Truesdell has fearlessly answered those questions, digging into the memories of musicians who were at the sessions and tapes of rejected performances and relying on his own deep familiarity with the sounds Evans created. Bravo to the package, beautifully designed by Andrew Neesley.
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Double bravo to the investors who contributed money to the project through ArtistShare, one of several vehicles devoted to helping artists fund their work through collective contributions from fans and admirers. Triple bravo to the sure-footed Ryan Truesdell, who gives everything about the release the love and care it deserves.
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Nearly every choice he made in completing the scores, choosing the soloists, directing the ensemble, and producing the CD was informed by a deep respect for Evans and a thorough understanding of the existing recordings. This would be a triumph for a musician at any stage of his career; it is a career-making achievement for an artist making his debut as a leader.
The Pacific Jazz recordings, produced by George Avakian and Dick Bock, used a good deal of period reverb to approximate a concert-hall sound, but as a result, the ensembles seemed distant and the rhythm section was compromised. Creed Taylor got a lot of the details right for Individualism and Out of the Cool , but he loved reverb and used it to excess.
The live recordings have all the usual problems of live recordings except for the Atlantic release Svengali , produced by Evans and Kenneth Nolan, which is remarkably good for a live date. He manages to square that circle very effectively here. He also made some savvy repertoire choices, dividing the time of the CD almost equally between early and later material.
The most unfamiliar pieces are six songs arranged by Evans in the s for the Claude Thornhill band. Giving modern production values to these beautiful arrangements demonstrates just how visionary Evans was and makes a case not for just Truesdell recording all the previously unrecorded Thornhill arrangements but for rerecording the ones that actually were released.
Truesdell chose Kate McGarry to sing the Centennial version, and she ices the cake with her superb pitch and perfect grace. The Davis version is brooding and dark; in the Thornhill version, the Delibes theme is much more clearly heard. Wendy Gilles turns in a very nice vocal on the latter. It appears that this is the one tune on the CD that is a remake of a previously issued Evans arrangement, but to my ears it is one of the most welcome pieces on the disc.