Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gil Evans - Live at Sweet Basil

Gil Evans ran into his share of would-be defenders of his "tradition" when he began experimenting with rock songs and electronic instruments in the '70s and '80s. One of jazz's greatest arrangers was suddenly viewed as a charlatan in certain circles, and a band loaded with great players was now being dismissed as a crew of frauds. This second volume of songs done live during the band's long run as Sweet Basil's regular Monday night attraction proves decisively that neither Evans nor his band lost anything. The versions of Wayne Shorter's "Parabola" and Herbie Hancock's "Prince of Darkness" are multi-faceted and compare favorably with almost anything done by any previous Evans aggregation. It may not have been "cool," but it was most assuredly great jazz. - by Ron Wynn, AMG

This is mostly big band fusion although Voodoo Child is melodically pretty much straight rock. I like the songs on this album a great deal. I think the long song "Blues in C" is the masterpiece here. It is based on a simple rock/fusion rhythm but there is incredible melodic complexity woven into the song, particularly a melody played by a chorus of brass instruments that recurs several times in the piece, in the latter couple cases in a somewhat different form from the first time, plus some fantastic instrumental solos on the trumpet, guitar, piano, etc. It is appropriate that his band is referred to as an Orchestra since the orchestration here is on a comparable level to that you'll find in some of the best classical music. I have something like 8 or so Gil Evans albums and I would have to rate this one among the top 2 or 3. Also with many jazz artists I tend to enjoy live albums more than studio albums and the fact that this album is live is an additional virtue as far as I am concerned. If you like Gil Evans you are probably going to like this album. Although I wouldn't rate every single song 5 stars (not Voodoo Child for example) the best songs on the album are so good that there is no question in my mind this is a 5 star album. - Lance B. Sjogren,

Artist: Gil Evans & The Monday Night Orchestra
Album: Live at Sweet Basil
Year: 1984
Label: Gramavision (1986)
Runtime: 71:29

1.  Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix) 7:22
2.  Blues in "C"/John's Memory/Cheryl/Bird Feathers/Relaxin' at Camarillo (Charlie Parker) 24:41
3.  Orange was the Color of her Dress Then Blue Silk (Charles Mingus) 6:15
4.  Prince of Darkness (Herbie Hancock) 5:50
5.  Up From the Skies (Jimi Hendrix) 8:37
6.  Parabola (Alan Shorter) 18:40

Gil Evans (Acoustic and Electric Piano)
Lew Soloff (Trumpet)
Hannibal Marvin Peterson (Trumpet)
Shunzo Ohno (Trumpet)
Miles Evans (Trumpet)
George Adams (Tenor Saxophone)
Chris Hunter (Alto Saxophone)
Howard Johnson (Tuba, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Tom Malone (Trombone)
Hiram Bullock (Guitar)
Pete Levin (Synthesizer)
Mark Egan (Bass Guitar)
Adam Nussbaum (Drums)
Mino Chinelu (Percussion)


  1. Thank you itr, I missed this Evans album. Just checked and it's great.

  2. Me too, Pippo (are you Mr. Spera, the great composer?), just met this wild Gil Evans album. Thanks, ITR! Fantastic, uncompromising blog.

  3. Dear ITR,

    The file for the artwork is no longer available according to FF. Is it possible to re-upload this file? Thank you.

  4. Thanks loads! I was expecting Miles Davis in the line-up, though.

  5. I regret to tell you this file is gone again... the textfile.



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