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Jazz - Released September 1, 1958 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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The title New Bottle Old Wine given to this superb record by Gil Evans, his second album under his name, could not be more apt. Collaborators Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Dizzy Gilespie and others create a sound akin to a divine vintage liqueur; the great Canadian composer, arranger, conductor and pianist provides the brand-new bottle. A mature collection, ahead of its time and realized with the help of 5-star soloists headed by the saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. When this album was released in 1958, Gil Evans was 46 years old and already held a sparkling track record with regard to his active participation in the revolution of Cool Jazz and Modal Jazz. On this album released by the label World Pacific, the nuclear strength of his singular arrangements is even more impressive. The unusual punctuations that he includes on a whim and the refined sequences paralleled with more abundant ones bring a certain chaos to these extremely well-known compositions. The success of New Bottle Old Wine is due also to the caliber of the virtuous collaborators, including legendary sidemen (Art Blakey, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones) and the lesser-known but equally brilliant Bill Barber, Frank Rehak, Johnny Coles, Jerry Sanfinoa and Phil Bodner. The record is an essential marker in the career of Gil Evans as two months after the sessions of New Bottle Old Wine, he arranged with Miles Davis a historic reimagining of Gershwin’s opera, Porgy & Bess… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Impulse!

Out of the Cool, released in 1960, was the first recording Gil Evans issued after three straight albums with Miles Davis -- Sketches of Spain being the final one before this. Evans had learned much from Davis about improvisation, instinct, and space (the trumpeter learned plenty, too, especially about color, texture, and dynamic tension). Evans orchestrates less here, instead concentrating on the rhythm section built around Elvin Jones, Charlie Persip, bassist Ron Carter, and guitarist Ray Crawford. The maestro in the piano chair also assembled a crack horn section for this date, with Ray Beckinstein, Budd Johnson, and Eddie Caine on saxophones, trombonists Jimmy Knepper, Keg Johnson, and bass trombonist Tony Studd, with Johnny Coles and Phil Sunkel on trumpet, Bill Barber on tuba, and Bob Tricarico on flute, bassoon, and piccolo. The music here is of a wondrous variety, bookended by two stellar Evans compositions in "La Nevada," and "Sunken Treasure." The middle of the record is filled out by the lovely standard "Where Flamingos Fly," Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht's "Bilbao Song," and George Russell's classic "Stratusphunk." The sonics are alternately warm, breezy, and nocturnal, especially on the 15-plus-minute opener which captures the laid-back West Coast cool jazz feel juxtaposed by the percolating, even bubbling hot rhythmic pulse of the tough streets of Las Vegas. The horns are held back for long periods in the mix and the drums pop right up front, Crawford's solo -- drenched in funky blues -- is smoking. When the trombones re-enter, they are slow and moaning, and the piccolo digs in for an in the pocket, pulsing break. Whoa. Things are brought back to the lyrical impressionism Evans is most well known for at the beginning of "Where Flamingos Fly." Following a four-note theme on guitar, flute, tuba, and trombone, it comes out dramatic and blue, but utterly spacious and warm. The melancholy feels like the tune "Summertime" in the trombone melody, but shifts toward something less impressionistic and more expressionist entirely by the use of gentle dissonance by the second verse as the horns begin to ratchet things up just a bit, allowing Persip and Jones to play in the middle on a variety of percussion instruments before the tune takes on a New Orleans feel, and indeed traces much of orchestral jazz history over the course of its five minutes without breaking a sweat. "Stratusphunk" is the most angular tune here, but Evans and company lend such an element of swing to the tune that its edges are barely experienced by the listener. For all his seriousness, there was a great deal of warmth and humor in Evans' approach to arranging. His use of the bassoon as a sound effects instrument at the beginning is one such moment emerging right out of the bass trombone. At first, the walking bassline played by Carter feels at odds with the lithe and limber horn lines which begin to assert themselves in full finger popping swing etiquette, but Carter seamlessly blends in. Again, Crawford's guitar solo in the midst of all that brass is the voice of song itself, but it's funky before Johnny Coles' fine trumpet solo ushers in an entirely new chart for the brass. The final cut, "Sunken Treasure," is a moody piece of noir that keeps its pulse inside the role of bass trombone and tuba. Percussion here, with maracas, is more of a coloration device, and the blues emerge from the trumpets and from Carter. It's an odd way to close a record, but its deep-night feel is something that may echo the "cool" yet looks toward something deeper and hotter -- which is exactly what followed later with Into the Hot. This set is not only brilliant, it's fun. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Verve Reissues

Although Gil Evans had gained a lot of acclaim for his three collaborations with Miles Davis in the 1950s and his own albums, this CD contains (with the exception of two tracks purposely left off), Evans's only dates as a leader during 1961-68. The personnel varies on the six sessions that comprise the CD (which adds five numbers including two previously unreleased to the original Lp) with such major soloists featured as tenorman Wayne Shorter, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, trumpeter Johnny Coles and guitarist Kenny Burrell. Highlights include "Time of the Barracudas," "The Barbara Song," "Las Vegas Tango" and "Spoonful." Highly recommended to Gil Evans fans; it is a pity he did not record more during this era. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Prestige

Although arranger Gil Evans had been active in the major leagues of jazz ever since the mid-'40s and had participated in Miles Davis' famous Birth of the Cool recordings, Gil Evans & Ten was his first opportunity to record as a leader. The set features a typically unusual 11-piece unit consisting of two trumpets, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, Bart Varsalona on bass trombone, French horn player Willie Ruff, Steve Lacy on soprano, altoist Lee Konitz, Dave Kurtzer on bassoon, bassist Paul Chambers, and either Nick Stabulas or Jo Jones on drums, plus the leader's sparse piano. As good an introduction to his work as any, this program includes diverse works ranging from Leadbelly to Leonard Bernstein, plus Evans' own "Jambangle." The arranger's inventive use of the voices of his rather unique sidemen make this a memorable set. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Records

Gil Evans released two records on World Pacific in 1958 and 1959. They were among his earliest dates as a leader. Gil Evans & Ten was issued by Prestige in 1957, but these dates stand out more. New Bottle, Old Wine was the first of the pair and the band included four trumpets, a trio of trombones, French horn (played by Julius Watkins), a pair of tubas, Cannonball Adderley as the lone saxophonist, and a rhythm section that included either Philly Joe Jones or Art Blakey on drums, Paul Chambers on bass, and Chuck Wayne on guitar. The reading of "King Porter Stomp" is the stunner here, with Adderley's solo being a prized moment. There isn't a weak cut in the whole mess, though. Other standouts include Fats Waller's "Willow Tree," "Lester Leaps In," with great solos by Wayne and Adderley, the burning finale of Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca," and Charlie Parker's "Bird Feathers" closing it out. The second of these albums, Great Jazz Standards, featured a similar band with some notable differences. For one, the inclusion of soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy as a soloist and rhythm sections that included either Dennis Charles or Elvin Jones on drums, Curtis Fuller on trombone, and Budd Johnson on tenor for about half the set. The finer moments here include "Ballad of the Sad Young Men" (a newish tune at the time with a fine piano solo by Evans) and John Lewis' "Django," with a truly brilliant and understated solo by Lacy, who also does a commendable job on "Straight No Chaser." Johnson wails on Gil Evans' "La Nevada (Theme)." Evans' arrangement of Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" is also a killer, with his and guitarist Ray Crawford's solos. The Complete Pacific Jazz Sessions is a fine collection issued by Blue Note, which, as part of the Connoisseur Series, is limited and will be out of print again soon. Don't wait. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released December 16, 2016 | Enlightenment

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1975 | RCA Victor

This CD reissue (which adds additional material to the original LP program) is much more successful than one might have expected. Jimi Hendrix was scheduled to record with Gil Evans' Orchestra but died before the session could take place. A few years later, Evans explored ten of Hendrix's compositions with his unique 19-piece unit, an orchestra that included two French horns, the tuba of Howard Johnson, three guitars, two basses, two percussionists and such soloists as altoist David Sanborn, trumpeter Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson, Billy Harper on tenor, and guitarists Ryo Kawasaki and John Abercrombie. Evans' arrangements uplift many of Hendrix's more blues-oriented compositions and create a memorable set that is rock-oriented but retains the improvisation and personality of jazz. [This album was re-released in 2002 on the Bluebird label with four bonus tracks from the same sessions] © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 9, 2012 | Efor, S.L

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Jazz - Released July 5, 2014 | Lullaby in Rhythm

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | Impulse!

Although this album (reissued on CD) proudly states that it is by the Gil Evans Orchestra and has Evans' picture on the cover, the arranger actually had nothing to do with the music. Three songs have the nucleus of his big band performing numbers composed, arranged, and conducted by John Carisi (who also plays one of the trumpets). Those selections by the composer of "Israel" are disappointingly forgettable. The other three performances are even further away from Evans for they are actually selections by avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor's septet! Taylor's music features trumpeter Ted Curson, trombonist Roswell Rudd, altoist Jimmy Lyons, tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp, bassist Henry Grimes, and drummer Sunny Murray and is quite adventurous and exciting, the main reason to acquire this somewhat misleading set. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 26, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

This is one of Gil Evans's finest recordings of the 1970s. He expertly blended together acoustic and electronic instruments, particularly on an exciting rendition of "Blues in Orbit" (which includes among its soloists a young altoist named David Sanborn). All six selections have their memorable moments (even a one-and-a-half minute version of "Eleven"); colorful solos are contributed by guitarist Ted Dunbar, Howard Johnson on tuba and flügelhorn, the passionate tenor of Billy Harper, and bassist Herb Bushler, among others; and Evans's arrangements are quite inventive and innovative. Rarely would he be so successful in balancing written and improvised sections in his later years. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Recorded just three months before arranger/pianist Gil Evans's death, this duet album teams Evans with the great soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. In truth, Evans's playing here is generally little more than melody statements and comping behind Lacy and, although the soprano is in top form, little of significance occurs. The duo performs lengthy versions of three Charles Mingus tunes, Duke Ellington's "Paris Blues" and Lacy's "Esteem." Evans was never a masterful keyboardist and clearly was not in Lacy's league as a player, so this CD is of greater interest from a historical standpoint than musical. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 15, 2016 | Jazz Moon

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Jazz - Released April 19, 2017 | Alpharecord - Fonotil

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Jazz - Released February 20, 2018 | nagel heyer records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Verve

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Jazz - Released March 2, 2015 | Silver Classics Jazz

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 28, 2019 | Reborn recordings

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Jazz - Released June 29, 2020 | Picobello