Gil Evans & the Monday Night Orchestra / Gil Evans

Bud and Bird

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Gil Evans celebrated his 75th birthday shortly before this session was issued in Japan. He was not looking back, judging from the progressive, animated quality of these numbers. They included some extensive, rollicking numbers, songs with multiple movements, and energized solos from John Clark on French horn, trumpeter Lew Soloff, bass trombonist Dave Tucker, and bassist Mark Egan. Special guest Johnny Coles chimed in on "Half Man, Half Cookie." Some critics rapped Evans' '80s orchestras for their almost chaotic sound and loose feel. But Evans wanted a sprawling sensibility, and although his bands often seemed disorganized, they always maintained discipline in the midst of what others thought sounded like musical anarchy.

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