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

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.


  • Ryan Truesdell

    Composer, arranger, and producer Ryan Truesdell was voted Best New Artist in the 2012 JazzTimes Critics' Poll and is best known for his award-winning Gil Evans Project. In his pursuit to restore and perform Evans' music directly from his original manuscripts, Truesdell discovered more than 60 new, never-before-recorded pieces, 10 of which were released on CENTENNIAL: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans in honor of Evans' 100th birthday. Unanimously praised by critics, CENTENNIAL received three nominations and won Evans a posthumous 2013 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement. Truesdell will release the Gil Evans Project's sophomore album, LINES OF COLOR: Live at Jazz Standard, on February 17, 2015 on the Blue Note / ArtistShare label. By recovering and performing these lost works, Truesdell has filled in essential missing pieces of Evans' rich musical narrative, expanding the legacy of one of jazz history's most revered composers and arrangers.

    A skilled composer and arranger in his own right, Truesdell has been commissioned by trumpeter Ingrid Jensen with the USAF Band of the Pacific and pianist Frank Kimbrough with the University of Minnesota's Jazz Ensemble, in addition to writing a new piece for Bob Brookmeyer's 80th birthday concert at the Eastman School of Music. He was also awarded the First Music commission from the New York Youth Symphony's Jazz Band Classic in 2009.

    Truesdell has distinguished himself as an invaluable resource in the studio, beginning in 2004 as production assistant for Maria Schneider's Grammy Award-winning record Concert in the Garden. He co-produced Schneider's critically acclaimed 2007 album, Sky Blue, and traveled to Germany in 2010 to produce Bob Brookmeyer and the NDR Big Band. In addition to producing the Gil Evans Project's albums, Truesdell is currently co-producing Schneider's forthcoming release, The Thompson Fields.

    Truesdell is an in-demand clinician and guest artist, working with the highly regarded programs at the University of North Texas, University of South Florida, New York University, and Humber College. In 2012, he embarked on a multi-concert project with the musicians of the Eastman School of Music, performing nearly 150 of Gil Evans' historic works.

    Gil Evans Project

    Established in 2011, the Gil Evans Project has quickly become one of today's premier modern large jazz ensembles. Born out of composer-producer Ryan Truesdell's desire to restore and perform Gil Evans' music directly from his original manuscripts, Truesdell's research led him to discover more than 60 of Evans' works that were never recorded. With the Evans family's blessing, the Gil Evans Project is the only ensemble currently performing these rare or never performed works exactly as Evans intended.

    The Project's 2012 debut album, CENTENNIAL: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans, received unanimous praise from critics, earning three Grammy nominations and the 2013 Record of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association. The album won Evans a posthumous 2013 Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his 1947 arrangement of "How About You." CENTENNIAL was also named one of the top 10 albums (any genre) of 2012 by The New York Times, one of the top 10 jazz albums of the year by NPR, and the No. 1 jazz album by the Sunday Times in London. The Gil Evans Project additionally earned the titles of Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2013 from the Jazz Journalists Association and Rising Star Big Band by the DownBeat Critics' Poll in 2014.

    Since its inception, the Gil Evans Project has stunned audiences with Evans' timeless music at many world-class venues and festivals, including the Newport Jazz Festival (Rhode Island), the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival (Illinois), and Jazz Standard (New York City). The ensemble's upcoming appearances include concerts at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and the Harmon Fine Arts Center. Tonight's performance marks the Gil Evans Project's Carnegie Hall debut.

    The Gil Evans Project's highly anticipated sophomore album, LINES OF COLOR (currently in post-production), was recorded live this past May during an annual week-long residency at Jazz Standard. Featuring 11 of Evans' works, LINES OF COLOR will be released in February 2015 on Blue Note / ArtistShare, a new partnership formed between the two groundbreaking labels. For more information, visit

    More Info


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

At a Glance

Gil Evans’ 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. For each project, Evans found a new combination of instruments to create a 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.

This evening’s program 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, at Carnegie Hall.

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, Evans orchestrated these works to explore the infinite array of colors provided by these instruments, expanding his sonic world to the furthest point of his imagination.
Program Notes


Gil Evans's arrangement of Horace Silver's Sister Sadie.

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.

Part of