Both Evanses are imitated or dismissed based on listeners' impressions of the surface elements of their music combined with widespread lack of insight into the total package. Regardless of Gil's brilliant orchestral colors or Bill's gorgeous harmonies, the reason they were both great jazz musicians is that they were masters of rhythm. The Evans/LaFaro/Motian trio's greatest innovations were in the areas of rhythmic freedom and interplay. Gil Evans's best-known recorded work involved providing frameworks for soloists, most notably Miles Davis, and the fact is that the hippest voicings and most distinctive tone colors are useless in supporting a jazz solo if the writing lacks rhythmic cohesion and fails to give the soloist some breathing room. Yet to this day many admirers of both men pay "tribute" by producing music that is all about surface beauty and negligent toward rhythmic concerns. (Ah, I feel much better now.)
Oh yeah! The track! "Bird Feathers" is a blues with harmonic substitutions similar to other Parker lines like "Sippin' at Bell's" or "Chi Chi". The arrangement has a feeling of loose spontaneity combined with a unified overall plan, which is an aspect of rhythm on a larger scale. It begins with the melody played with brushes on the snare drum, then by flute and muted trumpet in bare unison and then with a harmonic background. There are fine solos by Adderley, Rehak, Coles and Chambers, with backgrounds and ensemble interludes that sound like they were derived from Parker solos, giving the arrangement a great sense of overall cohesiveness. The trombone section deserves kudos for the fine execution of some tricky soli passages. Blakey's solo choruses are followed by some 4-bar exchanges with the full band. Cannon reenters over a beautifully scored ensemble passage, after which the opening choruses of the theme appear in reverse order, providing an overall arch-like form to the performance.
January 06, 2009 · 0 commentsTags: bird feathers
Previous Page | Next Page