Ryan Truesdell / Gil Evans Project Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans

Ryan Truesdell / Gil Evans Project Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans
Jazz, by its nature, is ephemeral; it can be timeless and enduring. The music of Gil Evans is all that and then some. Evans, who died in 1988, left an archive of unrecorded compositions and arrangements. Inspired by his recordings and Evans' work with protégé Maria Schneider, composer/arranger Ryan Truesdell is the only person whom the artist's family granted access to the treasure trove of music. And on his 100th birthday, thanks to Truesdell's tireless and meticulous work, ten of the gems now get to be heard in all their sonic splendour. Opening with tabla and a diaphanous cloud of woodwinds and tuba, "Punjab" embodies two qualities of Evans' composing/orchestrating genius: aching beauty and transcendental mystery, here dressed in an Indian melody. At the very heart of his music is the blues, full of yearning, as on "Smoking My Last Cigarette," which is intimately rendered by vocalist Kate McGarry. Pieces range from 1946 to 1971; absent is Gil's electrified rock music, although "Waltz/Variation the Misery/So Long" does date from that period. Truesdell also chose pieces we've heard, such as "The Maids of Cadiz," now recorded with front-row-seat clarity. Evans' re-envisioning of Kurt Weill's "The Barbara Song," with an expanded orchestra and an extended solo by vibraphonist Joe Locke, is a jaw-dropping masterpiece. Highly recommended. (ArtistShare)