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3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Blues In Orbit
  2. Cry Of Hungar
  3. Thoroughbred
  4. Eleven
  5. Summertime
  6. Zee Zee

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
By David Keymer - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
EVANS, Gil. Svengali. Five Four. Orig. 1973 or 1974; reissued in 2012. $13.43. GE, p, arr; Ted Dunbar, guit; Marvin ‘Hannibal’ Peterson, tpt; Tom Malone, tbn; David Sanborn, alto sx; Trevor Koehler, bari sx, sop sx, flt; Billy Harper, ten sx; Howard Johnson, tuba, bari sx, flgl hrn; Herb Bushler, elec bs; Bruce Ditmas, dr; others.

This isn’t five star music but it’s close to it, another late-midlife album by one of jazz’s truly great arranger bandleaders, Canada born Gil Evans. It contains two tunes by Billy Harper, who also solos to devastating effect on his own “Cry of Hunger”; a George Russell staple, “Blues in Orbit”; a 1 minute 41 second reworking of Evans’s early tune with Miles, “Eleven”; a virtual replay of Evans’s original chord-shifting backdrop on “Summertime,” setting off Ted Dunbar’s effective guitar solo. (Evans used this arrangement a third time to back Helen Merrill, who, with her smoky, affecting voice, may have been the one perfect vocalist for Evans’s signature floating clouds backing.) The solo turns are all good, with Howard Johnson’s tuba solo on “Thoroughbred” and Harper’s solos especially affecting. By the time Evans recorded this album, he had moved to a looser framework than in his earlier albums, a looser balance between ensemble and solo sections, but, better than in some of his later albums, they still seem in balance on this outing. The result isn’t a better music than in earlier albums, just different, and most of the time, it works well. A ten-minute run on George Russell’s “Blues in Orbit” shows how tricky Evans’s arrangements could be, especially the vamps leading into his long pieces. (“Tricky” is a good word here, not a pejorative.) And no one, absolutely no one could voice harmonized unison lines better than Evans could (although Bill Holman and George Russell matched him).

I’ve been replaying a lot of Gil Evans’s albums lately and I was talking about him with a friend last week, who is the former dean of instruction at the community college in Modesto, CA, where he and I live. He told me that way back when, Evans attended Modesto Junior College briefly. The information didn’t add anything to my appreciation of Evans’s music but I liked hearing it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True music 25 Aug. 2012
By Peter P - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of the best musical arrangements I have had the pleasure of listening to. A true genius and a great addition to my library
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great effort by the immortal Gil Evans 2 Jan. 2000
By Joe Owen - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a great recording by Gil Evans and his orchestra. This is a fine example that even an orchestra can do fusion. Each section in the orchestra makes a valuable contribution to the recording. "Thoroughbread" is an excellent introduction to the mood Evans was trying to emphasize on this session. Every song afterwards is great from a swing type to fusion/funk. Its all here! The only thing missing on this recording is Miles Davis. If Miles was in on this session this would of been a 5 Star Plus recording! However, this is an excellent CD to acquire for all Gil Evans enthusiasts.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Svengali = Gilevans 5 Jan. 2004
By Peppino - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The anagram is obvious, no?
This has been one of my favorite Gil Evans recordings, I wore the LP right out years ago!
I do not comprehend exactly what the 2 previous reviews mean by "fusion", but then, try define the word "jazz"..(The wash of a synth or an electric piano Fender ? I hope this not the criteria used to define, but no matter!)
This recording is pure "Evansonia", with his trademark lush arrangements and innovative chord voicings.
Featured soloists this turn , the seldom heard and quite individual concepts of Ted Dunbar on electric guitar, and the Texas "big horn" sound meets the post bop.avante guard tenor sax of the underrated Billy Harper.
Mr Harper contributes 2 compositions, "Cry of Hunger" and the opening romp, "Thoroughbred", and is also an individualistic composer.
Howard Johnson, maestro of the baritone sax oan tuba, "Mr Low Frequencies" is featured in solo settings on tuba and Flugehorn, and is a quite inventive soloist!
Hannibal Peterson, another sadly neglected musician (A trumpet more worthy than the obscurity he has been banished to..)features on "ZeeZee", a delicious track.
For me, the highlight of the recording is a moody and thoughful version of the standard "Summertime", which features a medlodic solo statement from Mr Dunbar over a wash of beautifully altered chords from the orchestra, a treat!
With 2 books released this year about Mr Evan's musics and lifestory, I hope interest is still high in his musics now and for the passing years to come..
This cd is a "must have" for every jazz afficionado, to sound a bit cliche (but true!).
1000 stars , Viva Gil Evans! A true innovator!
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just for laughs, a little dissention... 6 Jun. 2006
By Sensitive Guy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I bought this LP when it first came out. I'd drowned my happy soul in "Out of the Cool" and got lost for months in the moods of "Individualism". Add to that his "Guitar Forms" LP with Kenny Burrell and the "Sketches" album, I was ready for more of the pure Evanescence, and not ready for Gil Evans to do what most self-respecting composers do -- shift gears. No, change cars. In mid-drive.

This album was a huge change to me, and I tried to follow him but couldn't. Kind of like trying to follow Stravinsky from his neo-classical phase to his atonal phase. Maybe he (Gil Evans) made it, maybe the other reviewers are right, and it's all great stuff, but it lost me. No magic, no startles, no surprises that I could suck into my soul and thrive on.

So, be warned, be cautious. It's a change, and it signals a change that he continued on for the rest of his career, and if you loved "Individualism", you might not make the jump. Then again, maybe you will. I just have to go on record to say all this, as one Evans fan who is disappointed.
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