Gil Evans: The Complete Pacific Jazz Sessions (2006)
The compositions are classics, but their arrangements and interpretations are as modern and refreshingly surprising as we have come to expect from Evans. The fluid alto saxophone lines blend seamlessly with the crisp piano notes played by Evans himself on the first three tracks. Deep tuba notes open the fourth track, which remains bottom-heavy, with a trombone solo following the tuba, and then it concludes beautifully with the alto saxophone.
The last seven tracks, which originally made up Great Jazz Standards, are more brassy, and most of the solos are taken by trumpets. A few of the pieces include Monk-ish solos by Steve Lacy, and again it's nice to hear Evans play the piano. The ensemble playing is extremely polished and creative, with unexpected takes on familiar themes. This welcome addition to Gil Evans' CD catalogue allows us to hear his take on jazz classics and enjoy his virtuosity on the piano, as well as his arranging skills.
Track Listing: St. Louis Blues; King Porter Stomp; Willow Tree; Struttin' with Some Barbecue; Lester Leaps In; 'Round Midnight; Manteca; Bird Feathers; Davenport Blues; Straight No Chaser; Ballad of the Sad Young Men; Joy Spring; Django; Chant of the Weed; La Nevada (Theme).
Personnel: Gil Evans: piano; Johnny Coles, Louis Mucci, Ernie Royal, Clyde Reasinger, Allen Smith, Danny Stiles: trumpets; Frank Rehak, Joe Bennett, Tom Mitchell, Bill Elton, Curtis Fuller, Dick Lieb, Jimmy Cleveland, Rod Levitt: trombones; Julius Watkins, Bob Northern, Earl Chapin: French horns; Harvey Phillips, Bill Barber: tubas; Cannonball Adderley, Eddie Caine: alto saxophones; Gerald Sanfino, Phil Bodner, Al Block: flutes and clarinets; Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone; Chuck Wayne, Ray Crawford: guitars; Paul Chambers, Dick Carter, Tommy Potter: basses; Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Dennis Charles, Elvin Jones: drums.
Record Label: Blue Note Records
Style: Big Band