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Gil Evans NPR Interview "Gil at 100" Transcript Part 2


VITALE: In the 1960s, Gil Evans updated his orchestra with electric guitars and synthesizers, but he continued to harmonize with his close-note chords. In 1983, a week before his 71st birthday, Evans sat at the piano in his cramped apartment on West 76th Street, took a toke on the marijuana in his pipe and showed me how he harmonized the Jimi Hendrix song "Up From the Skies."

EVANS: I wrote the melody out exactly as he sang it, right?


EVANS: Then he comes in and sings, right?

(Singing) I just want to talk to you. I don't mean you no harm.

So what I do is I harmonized it when he'd say - and I'd give it a certain sound by saying - that gives me a sound, right? You hear that sound. It's got a certain spice to it, right? Because the notes are close.


VITALE: Gil Evans said he never made a cent off any of his records, but he was cool with that.

EVANS: You know, I started out as an arranger. If I'd known at the time it was such a loser's game, I wouldn't have done it, because the arranger doesn't get any royalties. But I had so much fun doing it, I never even thought of that at the time.

VITALE: Gil Evans said there was no use complaining about the past, he was only interested in what was happening now. He died at the age of 75 in 1988. For NPR News, I'm Tom Vitale in New York.


MARTIN: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

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