Published Mar 24, 2015Recorded at NYC's Jazz Standard, this collection of 11 exquisite Gil Evans arrangements is powered into hyperdrive by the presence of an enthusiastic audience. Opening with an earthier "Time of the Barracudas" than Evans's haunting original version from his masterpiece The Individualism of Gil Evans, the ensemble sounds pitch perfect and beautifully balanced. Then come what start as confidently relaxed solos by trombonist Marshall Gilkes and tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin that get more and more intense, reaching feverish peaks.
"Davenport Blues" from Great Jazz Standards features the hot-blooded trumpet of Mat Jodrell. Brassy, bluesy and full of fire, Jodrell's horn winds in and out of the multi-dimensional arrangement with a tone and approach more than passingly reminiscent of an Evans idol, Louis Armstrong. Languid and sensual, the Claude Thornhill-era "Can't We Talk It Over" rests achingly on the breathy vocals of Wendy Gilles and tenor of Scott Robinson. Evans' music could not have a better conductor than the committed, meticulous and passionate Ryan Truesdell. This is big band jazz at its majestic best.