Evans, Mulligan and Davis

Whereas in some bands there was a very clear musical separation between the trumpets, trombones and saxophones,Gil Evans preferred the density and the richness obtained by fusing their varied tones in his arrangements. His orchestrations evoke the shimmer of colors and weight of fabrics.The seduction of the sounds took precedence, and his 'Moon Dreams' stretched itself out in dramatic torpor.

Jazz Of Thufeil - Gil Evans Miles Davis.jpg
Gil Evans - Miles Davis in Studio, 1949

Among the other arrangers Miles Davis worked with for the occasion, all of them regulars at Gil Evans room, baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan was particularly innovative: he made deliberate efforts to break with the traditional eight measure form.When the harmonic structure still revered to this convention, he would shift his orchestration to the theme of 'Jeru' he called the sovereignty of the four-beat measure and rhythmic unity into question with isolated two- and three-beat measures.

Miles Davis nonet went against all the then current ideas about the lightweight quality of jazz. It seemed to demand the kind of listening one would expect Carnegie Hall, not a noisy club.

The alto sax player Lee Konitz, one of the principal soloists Miles Davis invited to the 1949 Capitol Records sessions, seemed an unlikely candidate for major role. He was to the bebop saxophone what Woody Allen is to American cinema: he had the pallor of an absentminded student, in sharp contrast to the exuberant faces of bebop. The same was true of his playing. He softened the aggressive virtuosity of Charlie Parker through the influence of the floating phrases of Lester Young and the pianist Lennie Tristano.

Jazz Of Thufeil - Gerry Mulligan.jpg
Gerry Mulligan in Live Performance 1940s

Tristano contributed a theoretical foundation to bop musicians discoveries and spread their ideas through his teaching. Emphasizing melody, harmony and rhythm, he streamlined bop's expressionistic aspects. The coterie of young white musicians he assembles, particularly sax players Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, tempered bop's dazzling language by adopting airy resonances and vibratoless tones. Referring to the fugue and counterpoints of Johann Sebastian Bach, these musicians loved to do two part improvisations and, with Lennie Tristano, were responsible for the first free improvisations (without any written theme or even any agreed upon harmonic pattern).


1 comment:

  1. Gil Evans will always be missed as a great mentor of Jazz