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The Gil Evans Orchestra


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Ian Ernest Gilmore “Gil” Evans (né Green) (May 13, 1912 – March 20, 1988) was a jazz pianist, arranger, composer and bandleader, active in the United States. He played an important role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz and jazz fusion, and collaborated extensively with Miles Davis.
Gil Evans was born in Toronto, Canada, as Ian Ernest Gilmore Green and early took the family name Evans from his stepfather. The family soon moved to California, where he spent the first decades of his life. From 1946 onwards he lived and worked in New York City.

In 1941-48 he worked as an arranger for the sophisticated Claude Thornhill Orchestra, from 1946 on in New York City. His modest basement apartment behind a Chinese laundry soon became a meeting place for musicians looking to develop the music from bebop, though Charlie Parker himself was among those involved. With Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and others Evans collaborated on a band book for a nonet starting in 1948, which had a booking for a week’s appearance at the “Royal Roost” as an intermission group on the bill with the Count Basie Orchestra. Capitol Records recorded the group 12 titles at three sessions in 1949 and 1950; these recordings were reissued on LP-album as Birth of the Cool in 1957.

Later, when Davis was under contract to Columbia Records producer George Avakian suggested several potential arrangers to the trumpeter who immediately fixed on the option of working with Evans again.


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