Gil Evans: La Nevada


La Nevada


Gil Evans (piano)


Out of the Cool (Impulse IMP11862)

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Gil Evans (piano), Johnny Coles (trumpet), Jimmy Knepper (trombone), Ron Carter (bass), Charlie Persip (drums, percussion), Elvin Jones (drums, percussion),

Phil Sunkel (trumpet), Keg Johnson (trombone), Tony Studd (bass trombone), Bill Barber (tuba), Ray Beckenstein (alto sax, flute, piccolo), Bob Tricarico (bassoon, flute, piccolo), Ray Crawford (guitar)


Composed and arranged by Gil Evans


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, December, 10, 1960


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Gil Evans was always adept at the “less is more” theory. One year before this recording, he issued Great Jazz Standards, featuring a shorter first draft of “La Nevada,” then called “The Theme." For this second and masterful version, he uses less musicians but (sometimes more is more) has two drummers doubling on percussion. The structure of the piece is deceptively simple, and its construction is a wonder: suspense and contrast reign supreme, and all instruments “have their exits and their entrances” (you’ll see: the theme exposure by the trombones will soon become your favorite). Then, some of them tell their story through short, powerful solos in a décor of dense polyrhythm and sparse efficient riffs. Masterwork is a small word, after all.

Reviewer: Thierry Quénum

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