A superb jazz arranger and bandleader, Gil Evans rivaled Ellington and Mingus in his ability to provide imaginative frameworks for individual voices within a large orchestra. He wrote elaborate, intricate arrangements that didn't weaken or threaten his band's spontaneity. His most renowned work came in the late '50s, when Miles Davis signed with Columbia and brought Evans into the studio with a large ensemble. The resultant albums -- Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy and Bess (1958), Sketches of Spain (1959) -- became milestones in the careers of both men. Evans was hardly a purist; he began using electronics in his bands in the '70s and scandalized some by recording Jimi Hendrix material. His style got looser in later years, with more space and less precision, but certainly his music remained compelling. Evans' harmonic language, compositional ...
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