Gil Evans

Gil Evans, 13 May 1912 – 20 Mar 1988, was an American jazz musician. He was an arranger, composer and band leader as well as a pianist. He played a pivotal role in the creation of cool jazz, modal, free jazz, and jazz-rock. Gil Evans was born as Ian Ernest Gilmore Green in Toronto, Canada. He later took the name Evans from his stepfather. He spent his first decades in California with his family. He lived and worked in New York City from 1946 to 1948. He was an arranger for the sophisticated Claude Thornhill orchestra, New York City. The basement of his apartment, which was located behind a Chinese laundry, became a place where musicians could meet to discuss developing bebop music. Charlie Parker was also involved. Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis and other Evans worked together to create a band booking for a nonet that began in 1948. This booked included a week-long appearance at the Royal Roost as an intermission group with the Count Basie Orchestra. Capitol Records recorded 12 songs by the group at three sessions in 1949, 1950 and 1950. These recordings were reissued in 1957 on LP-album Birth of the Cool. When Davis was still under Columbia Records’ contract, George Avakian suggested several arrangers to Davis. Evans immediately agreed to work with Avakian again. Their three main albums are Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy and Bess (588) and Sketches of Spain (60). Quiet Nights (1962), a second collaboration, was released later, but Davis, who had a falling out with Teo Macero, his producer at the time, did not want it. These four records were promoted primarily under Miles Davis’s name (often credited with the Gil Evans Big Band and Miles Davis), but Evans’s contribution was equally important. Their collaboration was a combination of classic big-band jazz and a skilled soloist. These collaborations all feature Evans’s big band arrangements, which Davis played with exceptional melodic and stylistic skill. Evans was also a behind-the scenes contributor to Davis’ 1960s classic quintet albums. Evans also recorded under his own name from 1957 to 1967, e.g. His impressionant albums Big Stuff (1957), aka Gil Evans

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