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
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