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Jazz Profiles Gil Evans: The Arranger as Re-composer

Jazz Profiles

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gil Evans: The Arranger as Re-composer – Part 1

“He was a mysterious man, as elusive and evanescent as his art. He could be maddeningly absent-minded; yet he could be closely attentive and solicitous, and you never quite knew how much Gil Evans was noticing about you. His childhood is an enigma, and there is even a question about his real name. Tall, lank, professional of mien, he was kind, self-critical, and self-doubting.”
- Gene Lees

“The mind reels at the intricacy of his orchestral and developmental techniques. His scores are so careful, so formally well-constructed, so mindful of tradition, that you feel the originals should be preserved under glass in a Florentine museum.”
- Bill Mathieu [arranger-composer]

“His name is famously an anagram of Svengali and Gil spent much of his career shaping the sounds and musical philosophies of younger musicians. … His peerless voicings are instantly recognizable.”
- Richard Cook

“I bought every one of Louis Armstrong’s records from 1927-1936. … In every one of these three minute records, there’s a magic moment somewhere. Every one of them. I really learned how to handle a song from him. I learned how to love music from him. Because he loved music and he did everything with love and care. So he’s my main influence I think.”
- Gil Evans

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.