Performance Friday, November 14, 2014 | 10 PM

Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project

The Colors Gil Found: Works for Large Ensemble

Zankel Hall
Composer-producer Ryan Truesdell’s acclaimed Gil Evans Project presents previously unrecorded works of pioneering jazz composer-arranger Gil Evans, along with authentic renderings of his better-known works, giving new life to one of the jazz idiom’s greatest writers.

Part of Late Nights at Zankel Hall.


  • Gil Evans Project
    Ryan Truesdell, Conductor


Gil Evans's Waltz / Variation on the Misery / So Long
Ryan Truesdell | Gil Evans Project

At a Glance

Gil Evans’s distinctive voice as a composer-arranger is immediately recognizable—as individual as the well-known instrumentalists for whom he wrote, including Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter. Within a few seconds of hearing a piece, the Evans sound is immediately identifiable. Whereas many of his contemporaries found one set vehicle for their voice to be heard—a big band, quartet, or medium-sized ensemble, for example—Evans was unique in the fact that he rarely repeated a set instrumentation from piece to piece. Each new project—or often within each project—Evans found a new combination of instruments to create a new, unique sound for the work at hand to flourish.

For tonight’s concert, the Gil Evans Project presents music that utilizes the largest combinations of instruments for which Evans wrote during his career. The music spans 24 years, 1947 to 1971—the core section of his career and a period when he had the most growth and development in his compositional voice.

The span of this evening’s music begins with three pieces Evans wrote during his tenure with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra. These works come from a nine-month period in which three additional musicians were added (exclusively playing piccolo and flute), bringing the total number of musicians in the orchestra to 21.

The second section includes music Evans wrote for Miles Davis during his most well-known period (1957–1962) and ranges from 19 to 20 musicians. The music includes selections from the classic albums Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Quiet Nights, as well as “Spring Is Here,” which was last performed by Miles Davis and the Gil Evans Orchestra on May 19, 1961, in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage.

The final selection of music receives its second live performance and US premiere on the Zankel Hall stage tonight, featuring music Evans wrote for one of his first performances in Europe on November 6, 1971, at the Berlin Jazz Festival. Written for an ensemble of 24 musicians, this music includes works that gave Evans the ability to explore the infinite array of colors provided by these instruments and expand his sonic world to the furthest point of his imagination.
This concert and The Shape of Jazz series are made possible by The Joyce and George Wein Foundation in memory of Joyce Wein.
Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with Absolutely Live Entertainment LLC.
This performance is part of The Shape of Jazz.