A delight! Just what you want in a big band album: energetic and expressive arrangements, and great solos. Gil Evans, who covered so many other composers' work, deserves this tribute to his own compositions.
Hans Koller - piano
Julian Siegel - tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Finn Peters - alto saxophone, flutes
Lluis Mather - tenor saxophone, clarinets
Percy Pursglove - trumpet
Robbie Robson - trumpet
Joe Aukland - trumpet
Jim Rattigan - french horn
Mark Nightingale - trombone
Sarah Williams - bass trombone, tuba
Michael Janisch - double bass
Jeff Williams - drums
Engineer: Alex Bonney
Produced by Michael Janisch
Edited by Alex Bonney, March 2013
Mixed & Mastered by Tyler McDiarmid, NYC Marcy 2013
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
released August 12, 2013
ABOUT THE ALBUM
"The first Gil Evans music I ever heard was his Gil Evans + Ten album - that was in the late 1950s - and it's still reverberating. This selection includes adaptions of some favorite Gil arrangements, and a few of my own explorations." - Mike Gibbs, 2013
Mike Gibbs is a revered composer, conductor, producer and arranger working in jazz and improvised music. He has worked with Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, Whitney Houston, John Schofield and Peter Gabriel in a career that spans four decades. At the time of this recording, the 76 year old Gibbs, according to The Guardian, "still sparks subtly harmonized thrills from a jazz orchestra in ways that few can," and this debut for Whirlwind has captured his 12-piece ensemble performing arrangements of Gil Evans material, adapted to mark the celebration of Evan's 100th anniversary. There's also a helping of Gibb's originals and works by some of his favorite composers including Carla Bley and Thelonious Monk. The 12-piece ensemble recorded all the material on the album in just one day and features an eclectic mix of renown improvisers living in the UK, with each track featuring at least one soloist.
A little more from Mike:
“The programme for this album is twofold – half devoted to some adaptions of arrangements of Gil Evans – which we originally designed for some concerts we did with Hans Kollers 12 piece ensemble to commemorate Gils’ 100th anniversary. The second half - comprises some new (-ish) arrangements and compositions of mine. These were also scheduled for the same performances in 2012/13. The pleasure we had gigging with this ensemble of stellar players prompted the idea of an album for Whirlwind Recordings.”
An Album of the Year - The Jazz Breakfast
An Album of the Year - Jazzwise Magazine
An Album of the Year - Jazz Views
"The 75-year-old Gibbs still sparks subtly harmonized thrills from a jazz orchestra in ways that few can – much as he did in the 1960s when he first showed the scene just what his unique synthesis of Gil Evans, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen and country-rock could sound like."
★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ The Telegraph
"From the first note, you know you're entering the unique Gibbs soundscape - those hair's breadth intervals, beautifully timed and tuned, glistening with piquant strokes of color. The effect is luminous but with a delicate edge, and it's rich, encompassing the full palette of orchestral texture."
★★★★★ BBC Music Magazine
"The pleasingly full textures glint with a jewel-like brilliance. A magnificent tribute, from one master to another."
★★★★ The Arts Desk
"It’s a lovely album. Where Evans ends and Gibbs begins is impossible to detect and a great strength of this excellent and yes, oh so cool, album. One of the most significant releases of the year so far."
★★★★ The Evening Standard
"There are many fulfilling moments, not only from soloists but of course from Gibb's scoring and re-scoring."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"This centenary tribute is fascinating... a beautifully recorded album."
The Northern Echo
"Immaculately arranged, played and recorded this is an album that combines intelligence and loveliness in equal measure and is highly recommended."
★★★★ The JazzMann
"The overall highlight of the recording, as with the concerts, is the composing, arranging and subtle leadership of the unmistakeable Mike Gibbs."
The Jazz Breakfast
"Gil Evans' legacy as an arranger is celebrated in a luminous new release... It's a lush tribute to a jazz great."
"This classy and quietly adventurous recording stands out from the pack."
"Gibbs captures that understated Gil Evans quality beautifully in these ten tracks, which comprise six of Evans's arrangements and four of Gibbs's own explorations."
The Herald Scotland
"If anyone can be said to have turned the jazz big band into an orchestra it was Gil Evans, and Mike Gibbs is prominent among his musical descendants."
"Gil Evans created some of the most bewitching orchestral music in jazz history, even compared to Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. Mike Gibbs, no upstart in those circles himself, pays tribute with personal versions of Evans themes such as the softly ecstatic Las Vegas Tango, and the late maestro's transforming arrangements of Kurt Weill's Bilbao Song or WC Handy's St Louis Blues, which effectively turned those melodies into new works. The soloing (notably from saxists Lluis Mather, Julian Siegel and Finn Peters, pianist Hans Koller and bassist Mike Janisch) consistently terrific."
★★★★ The Guardian
"Think of the ingredients you look for in a great jazz record – inspired, exploratory improv, the complete reinvention of standards, ear-catching arrangements, sonorities you've never heard before – and this new big band recording from Mike Gibbs delivers them all. By the bucketload."
★★★★ The Arts Desk
"The bassist Michael Janisch, outstanding throughout in partnership with the drummer Jeff Williams, is featured at length on 'Bilbao Song', showing himself to be one of a new breed of player (along with Thomas Morgan and Larry Grenadier) whose renunciation of the desire to play faster, higher and ever more intricate lines acts to the great benefit of the music."
The Blue Moment
"Twelve of the finest musicians working on the jazz scene were recruited to go into the studio for a day to document Gibbs’ labor of love. Ten tracks comprising of arrangements by Evans and Gibbs illustrate the fine art of the composer/arranger. Arrangements for the ensemble are typical Gil Evans; layered brass, a spotlight for the soloist (brass or reeds). Gibbs’ arrangements complement the American master’s approach, producing a cohesive narrative."
Bebop Spoken Here
"The late Gil Evans was the greatest arranger of postwar jazz by a country mile. His recordings with Miles Davis are jazz essentials, but his own-name catalogue is less well known. Composer/arranger Mike Gibbs redresses the balance with eight adaptations of Evans classics."
The Financial Times
"If it is one thing to recreate the music [Gil Evans] wrote as accurately and sympathetically as possible, it is another to use it as a platform for further exploration, which is what, in his characteristically quiet way, the composer and arranger Mike Gibbs has done on his latest album: Mike Gibbs + 12 Play Gil Evans, released this month on the Whirlwind label. Unparalleled in his devotion to and understanding of Evans’ music, Gibbs has allowed it to color and inspire his own work for the past 40-odd years, ever since he came to prominence with such compositions as 'Family Joy, Oh Boy' and 'Sweet Rain', made famous by Gary Burton and Stan Getz respectively in the late ’60s."
The Blue Moment