“Monday Nights” is not only the first studio recording of the Gil Evans Orchestra in over forty years, it also offers some of the most audacious and electrifying music of the new millennium. The late Gil Evans was one of the most respected orchestrators in jazz history and his fabled collaborations with Miles Davis, including “Birth of the Cool,” “Sketches of Spain” and “Porgy and Bess,” set the gold standard for modern jazz arranging.
Accordingly, Evans played a key role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz and jazz fusion. Gil’s sons, trumpeter Miles Evans and his brother Noah Evans are keeping the flame alive with “Hidden Treasures”, a trilogy of recordings of which “Monday Nights” is the first. The concept here, is to feature compositions that the Orchestra played live in the late 70s and early 80s.
Miles Evans wrote and arranged “LL Funk” in which Kenwood Dennard (Dizzy Gillespie, Brand X, etc…) drives the music with a powerful funk beat, with Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones, Sting, Herbie Hancock, etc…) on bass. Special guests’ solos abound with keyboardist Paul Shaffer (Late Night with David Letterman), Vernon Reid (Living Color) bringing a thick almost heavy metal guitar tip to the track, and the icing on the cake is David Mann (Tower of Power), who weaves his bluesy, potent alto sax throughout the track.
The recording closes with “Eleven,” a Gil Evans composition and arrangement, which originally appeared as “Petits Machins (Little Stuff)” on the 1968 Miles Davis recording, Filles de Kilimanjaro. The set closer is a bristling swinger, a fitting capper to this powerful set of absolutely stunning music. The groove is infectious, a potent platform for solos by alto saxophonist Chris Hunter (Michel Camilo, Manhattan Transfer, etc…), Charles Blenzig (Bill Evans) on electric piano and Alex Foster (Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones, etc…) who returns on tenor and continues to amaze.
This is the first in the “Hidden Treasures” trilogy. Gil Evans Lives!