The Gil Evans Project was born out of composer/producer Ryan Truesdell’s desire to restore and perform Gil Evans’ music directly from Gil’s original manuscripts. For decades, the only way to perform Gil Evans’ music was through transcriptions, which are often inaccurate, creating a misrepresentation of Gil’s music. The magic of Gil’s writing lies in the details – his use of harmony, very specific instrumentation, his highly unique approach to orchestration, and a very detailed rhythmic and notational structure. Without Gil’s original scores, it is nearly impossible to achieve the accuracy of these elements and perform this music as he originally intended.
After years of painstaking research, countless hours of preparation, and with full support from the Evans family, Ryan Truesdell and the Gil Evans Project have made it possible, for the first time, to perform Gil’s music in its purest form, directly from his manuscripts. Although Truesdell’s original intention was merely to restore the manuscripts of Gil’s known discography, his research led him to the exciting discovery of over fifty new, never-before-heard Evans compositions and arrangements dating from the 1940s through the 1980s. In celebration of Gil’s 100th birthday on May 13, 2012, Truesdell recorded ten of these works which were released on the album, CENTENNIAL: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans.
To read more about CENTENNIAL, please visit http://GilEvansProject.com.
It is an exciting opportunity to be able to create exclusive, first-time performances of this invaluable music. Because of the sheer quantity of Gil’s music that is now available, each concert has the potential to be a completely unique experience for the audience and the performers alike. Below are a few possible performance models:
- Chronological Concert – a concert covering nearly 50 years of music from Gil’s entire career. This is a great way to celebrate the music Gil has contributed over the years, and also a fascinating way to hear the evolution and development of Gil’s writing.
- Album-specific Concert – a concert designed around the music from one or two specific Gil Evans albums, which could include the Claude Thornhill era, Gil Evans + 10, New Bottle Old Wine/Great Jazz Standards, Out of the Cool, Individualism of Gil Evans, the four albums for Miles Davis, Guitar Forms (Kenny Burrell), Look to the Rainbow (Astrud Gilberto), Dream of You (Helen Merrill), and more!
- A “Never-before-heard” Concert – a concert featuring newly-discovered, previously un-recorded music from the new CENTENNIAL album.
- Concerts featuring a Guest – a concert featuring either a soloist from your ensemble, or a professional guest soloist. Much of Gil’s music is written to feature either a trumpet (e.g. the Miles Davis music), alto saxophone (e.g. music from New Bottle, Old Wine), or a vocalist, but we could make adjustments to feature just about anyone.
- A Custom-made Concert – a concert containing repertoire specifically chosen for your group’s strengths and performance needs.
Ryan Truesdell and/or the Gil Evans Project are available for single- or multi-day residencies at universities, music conservatories, festivals, or with professional ensembles. These residencies can include more than just a typical rehearsal and concert; there are many options for clinics or master classes in association with the Project as well. Topics can include:
- Gil’s life and history
- Research and discovery of new Gil Evans music
- In-depth look into Gil Evans compositional approach
- Composition/Arranging (general)
- One-on-one or group lessons on composition/arranging
- Record production – what goes into producing a record?
Festivals / Venues:
- Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
- Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA
- North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory, Toronto, ON, Canada
- Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana, IL
- Ancona Jazz Festival, Ancona, Italy
- Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI
- Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy
- Jazz Standard, New York, NY
- Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Elmhurst, IL
- Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Rochester, NY
- PrezFest, St. Peter’s Church, New York, NY
- Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL
- Hochschule der Kuenste Bern, Bern, Switzerlan
- Royal Conervatorie of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
- Rovigo Conservatory of Music, Rovigo, Italy
- University of North Texas, Denton, TX
- University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
- Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
- New York University, New York, NY
- New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
- Humber College, Toronto, ON, Canada
- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
- James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
- Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
- Lawrence University, Appleton, WI
- New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band Classic, New York, NY
- Trumpet – Terell Stafford, Paolo Fresu, Fabrizio Bosso, Clay Jenkins
- Saxophone – Phil Woods, Steve Wilson, Wes “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Francesco Cafiso, Stefano di Battista, Scott Robinson
- Vocalists – Helen Merrill, Kate McGarry, Gretchen Parlato, Andy Bey
- Piano – Frank Kimbrough
Downbeat (Jan. 2016):
Jazz School: The Signature Sound of Gil Evans
JazzTimes (Sept. 2015):
Artist’s Choice: Ryan Truesdell on Hidden Gems of Gil Evans