'Miles Davis And Gil Evans: Still Ahead' On JazzSet In three collaborations in the late 1950s, Gil Evans and Miles Davis steered their projects into a new era for jazz. Terence Blanchard plays Davis' role with commitment and emotion in this set.

Terence Blanchard plays the role of Miles Davis' trumpet with commitment and emotion at Monterey. Cole Thompson hide caption

toggle caption
Cole Thompson

Terence Blanchard plays the role of Miles Davis' trumpet with commitment and emotion at Monterey.

Cole Thompson

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

'Miles Davis And Gil Evans: Still Ahead' On JazzSetWBGO

'Miles Davis And Gil Evans: Still Ahead' On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/152419982/219205314" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Gil Evans was born on May 13, 1912. In three collaborations in the late 1950s, he and his friend and Miles Davis steered their projects into a new era for jazz.

Their first album was Miles Ahead. This Monterey Jazz Festival concert is called "Still Ahead," with music from the pair's second and third records, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.

Porgy and Bess, by George and Ira Gershwin, was the first Miles Davis stereo LP, coming out in 1958. A reworked Porgy and Bess was running on Broadway then (and again in 2012), and Nina Simone had a hit with "I Loves You, Porgy." In Davis and Evans' hands, French horns and tuba enter the brass section; the piano is subtracted from the orchestra. Davis takes the solos — he's Porgy, Bess, Sportin' Life and all. For Evans' riff, as well as Davis' reading, the jazz critic Martin Williams included "Summertime" in the 1973 Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz.

In between Porgy and Spain, Miles Davis made the greatest-selling jazz album of all time, Kind of Blue. Then, released in 1960, Sketches of Spain was even more colorful, beginning with the cover art. Remember the gold sky and red earth, and Davis with his trumpet sketched in a silhouette on the horizon? Classic. Castanets and tambourine, flutes, oboe, bassoon and harp expand the ensemble. Davis is the only soloist and the music comes from southern Spain. Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez was originally composed for guitar and orchestra, and "Saeta" and "Solea" are flamenco songs, although the sketches are only approximations of flamenco rhythm.

On our JazzSet, Terence Blanchard is the trumpeter, and he plays the role with commitment and emotion. Some in the audience were in tears. Musical director Vince Mendoza conducts the orchestra, and these Los Angeles-based musicians nail the challenging scores. The Still Ahead Orchestra project producer, Festival West's Darlene Chan — also a legend — once produced a Miles Davis-Gil Evans concert in Berkeley, Calif., in 1968. The Monterey Jazz Festival's artistic director Tim Jackson proudly produced this live concert for the 54th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival.

Set List

Selections From Porgy And Bess

  • "Buzzard Song"
  • "Bess, You Is My Woman"
  • "Gone, Gone, Gone"
  • "Prayer"
  • "Summertime"
  • "There's a Boat (excerpt)"

Selections From Sketches Of Spain

  • "Concierto de Aranjuez"
  • "Saeta"
  • "Solea"

Orchestra Members

Wayne Bergeron, Chuck Berghofer, Annie Bosler, Gene Cipriano, Wade Culbreath, Marcia Dickstein, Peter Erskine, Miles Evans, Dan Fornero, Gary Foster, Gary Grant, Larry Hall, Greg Huckins, Alan Kaplan, Charlie Loper, Bob McChesney, Charlie Morillas, Mike O'Donovan, Bill Reichenbach, Bob Sheppard, Rick Todd, Brad Warnaar.

Additional musicians from Monterey's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (on "Saeta" only): Christian Marrero, Adam O'Farrill, Tree Palmedo, Enrique Sanchez, Anthony Fung, Kevin Mixon Jr.

Credits

Onsite recording by Ron Davis of A Wing and A Prayer Productions. Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Turtle Island String Quartet with Cyrus Chestnut Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Turtle Island Quartet Joins Cyrus Chestnut With Global Gospel Offering

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Watch Carry Me Home, a program from Turtle Island, the hardest working string quartet in jazz, and their latest collaborator, pianist Cyrus Chestnut.

Turtle Island Quartet Joins Cyrus Chestnut With Global Gospel Offering

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/729918599/730429366" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joe Lovano. Craig Lovell/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Craig Lovell/Courtesy of the artist

Cleveland's Joe Lovano Comes Home

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Every December, saxophonist Joe Lovano travels home to Cleveland to throw himself a birthday concert. We hear tales of Lovano family lore, and a get a slice of his musical past and present.

Cleveland's Joe Lovano Comes Home

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/723488456/723984007" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Bassist Christian McBride (left) and Blues artist Joey DeFrancesco (right). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

A Reunion Of Brotherly Love: Joey DeFrancesco Traces His Roots

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Christian McBride interviews one of his oldest friends, organist Joey DeFrancesco, in their hometown of Philadelphia.

A Reunion Of Brotherly Love: Joey DeFrancesco Traces His Roots

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/687886485/688249013" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove passed away at age 49. Courtesy of The Roy Hargrove Estate hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of The Roy Hargrove Estate

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2018

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Friends of the show offer memories and music of pianist Cecil Taylor, Village Vanguard owner Lorraine Gordon, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/678136954/678160463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform new arrangements of holiday classics in New York City. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Performs Big Band Holiday Classics

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

New arrangements, old Yuletide classics. Watch the annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Big Band Holidays concert live on Wed., December 19th at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Back To Top