Friday, April 27, 2012

Jazz Orchestra Revives A Jazz Legend

Guest appearances by trumpeter Gilbert Cline and the entire Symphonic Band are part of the HSU Jazz Orchestra’s celebration of jazz legend Gil Evans on Friday April 27 at Fulkerson Recital Hall. “Evans is best known for arranging the music of three great Miles Davis albums in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s,” says Jazz Orchestra director and HSU Music professor Dan Aldag. “But his career began in the 1930s and lasted until his death in 1988.” He would be 100 years old this year.

The Jazz Orchestra will honor his early career with two pieces from the 1940s, when he became the first to arrange in the bebop style for big bands. “Sorta Kinda” features vocalist Jo Kuzelka. The Symphonic Band under the direction of Paul Cummings guests for “Moon Dreams,” a forgotten Evans arrangement for expanded big band that Aldag calls “stunning.”

Evans became the inspiration and facilitator for the nine piece “Birth of the Cool” band, an arrangement which the Jazz Orchestra revives with a Miles Davis tune, “Boplicity.” Gilbert Cline solos on trumpet and flugelhorn for three selections from those classic Miles Davis albums, including a tune from “Porgy and Bess.” “Each features a varied and very colorful orchestration,” Aldag said.

The acclaim he received for the Davis albums allowed Evans to finally record under his own name, so the Jazz Orchestra concludes with several innovative pieces that employ unusual instrumentation, from a bassoon to electric guitar and synthesizer.

The HSU Jazz Orchestra performs the music of Gil Evans on Friday April 27 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7/$3 students and seniors, and free to HSU students, from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media Previews: Tri-City Weekly, Humboldt State Now, North Coast Journal, Arcata Eye.

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