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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Out of the Cool

Poll Winners Records PWR 27290



1. La Nevada
2. Where Flamingos Fly
3. Bilbao Song
4. Stratusphunk
5. Sunken Treasure
6. Sister Sadie
7. La Nevada
8. Where Flamingos Fly
9. Angkor Wat
10. Barry's Tune
11. Moon Taj
Tracks 1-6
Gil Evans - Piano, arranger, conductor
Budd Johnson - Tenor sax, soprano sax
Eddie Caine - Flute, piccolo, alto sax (tracks 2, 4-6)
Ray Beckenstein - Alto sax, flute, piccolo (tracks 1, 3)
Johnny Coles, Phil Sunkel - Trumpets
Jimmy Knepper, Keg Johnson - Trombones
Tony Studd - Bass trombone
Bill Barber - Tuba
Bob Tricarico - Bassoon, flute, piccolo
Ray Crawford - Guitar
Ron Carter - Bass
Charlie Persip, Elvin Jones - Drums, percussion
Track 7
Gil Evans - Piano, arranger, conductor
Johnny Coles, Louis Mucci, Danny Stiles - Trumpets
Jimmy Cleveland, Curtis Fuller, Rod Levitt - trombones
Earl Chapin - French horn
Bill Barber - Tuba
Budd Johnson - Tenor sax, clarinet
Steve Lacy - Soprano sax
Eddie Caine - Woodwinds
Ray Crawford - Guitar
Tommy Potter - Bass
Elvin Jones - Drums
Track 8
Gil Evans - Arranger, conductor
Helen Merrill - Vocals
Art Farmer - Trumpet
Joe Bennett - Trombone
John LaPorta - Clarinet, alto sax
Jerome Richardson - Flute, sax
Danny Bank - Baritone sax
Hank Jones - Piano
Barry Galbraith - Guitar
Oscar Pettiford - Bass
Joe Morello - Drums
Track 9
Gil Evans - Leader, conductor
John Carisi. Johnny Glasel, Doc Severinsen - Trumpets
Urbie Green - Trombone
Jimmy Buffington - French horn
Harvey Phillips - Tuba
Phil Woods. Gene Quill - Alto saxes
Eddie Costa - Piano, vibes
Barry Galbraith - Guitar
Mi!t Hinton - Bass
Osie Johnson- Drums

Traclk 10
Same personnel as 9 except Clark Terry (trumpet), Bob Brookmeyer (trombone) and Art Davis (bass) replace Doc Severinsen. Jimmy Buffington and Milt Hinton
Track 11
Same personnel as 10 except Joe Wilder (trumpet) replaces Clark Terry


Gil Evans had an up-and-down career, writing arrangements for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra and the Birth of the Cool sessions (which remained largely unloved for several years), then becoming highly praised for his work with Miles Davis on Miles Ahead (1957), Porgy & Bess (1958) and Sketches of Spain (1960). He also made recordings with his own orchestras, such as this one, which dates from 1960.

The opening La Nevada takes a long time to get going. Johnny Coles' trumpet solo only arrives after about three minutes of doodling and riffing from the orchestra. Coles sounds very like Miles Davis, even to the extent of splitting notes. After a trombone solo, tenorist Budd Johnson injects a slice of soul into the piece before the mood subsides into a bass solo and inconsequential mutterings from the ensemble. A guitar solo does little to arouse the piece from its torpor, which lasts for more than 15 minutes. The album includes another, shorter version of the same piece, recorded in 1959 for the LP Great Jazz Standards. This is lifted by a gutsy tenor solo from Budd Johnson and a drum solo by Elvin Jones, but it still suffers from the repetition implicit in being based on a four-bar riff.

Trombonist Jimmy Knepper is featured in Where Flamingos Fly, starting off moody and gradually becoming more forceful. Gil Evans' backing textures are interesting. The bonus tracks have a version of the tune with intense vocals by Helen Merrill, from the 1956 LP Dream of You.

Bilbao Song is eerie, suiting the mood of many Kurt Weill compositions, and the tune is played on bass by Ron Carter before being repeated by the whole ensemble, with rich scoring for the horns. Stratusphunk is the blues as prescribed by George Russell, with a marching beat. Ray Crawford's restrained guitar solo speeds up midway, and Johnny Coles' solo does likewise. Coles is again the leading soloist in the mysterious Sunken Treasure. Sister Sadie was not included on the original LP but it ushers in a brighter, swinging style.

The last three tracks come from recordings made in 1961 with John Carisi as the composer as well as the trumpet soloist. These are typical of the unique sound world created by Gil Evans, using such un-jazz instruments as the French horn and tuba. But they also have an element of swing which is absent from some of the preceding tracks. Evans' arrangements are invariably intriguing, and he thankfully avoided big-band clich‚s, but his classical leanings sometimes made him forget that it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

Tony Augarde

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