Feature/Interview

52 Jazz Tracks for 2021 (20. ‘Angel’ – Gil Evans, Live at the Royal Festival Hall London 1978)

The 20th of Jon Turney’s weekly selection (introduced HERE) has one soloist serving two masters brilliantly.

Gil Evans album cover

For once, the date is actually in the title of the recording – it genuinely seemed a historic event. It’s almost a souvenir: I had been blown away by the same band in Manchester on one of the vanishingly rare nights jazz was heard at the Free Trade Hall. Everything about the record was wonderful but this opening track stood out.

David Sanborn on alto, sounding somewhat like a revved up Hank Crawford, revels in Hendrix’s gorgeous melody, bouyed by the orchestra, in a near-perfect five minutes of music. Hendrix always put a strong stamp on his tunes, but Sanborn uses Evans’ arrangement to repossess this one. Evans at this point was usually happy for anyone to solo on any tune. “I ask them not to take more than four solos at a concert if possible,” he told Charles Fox. But this one was always reserved for the alto player. He owns it.

LINKS: Listen on YouTube
Listen to alternative (studio) recording on Spotify
More on this recording on Jon’s Bristol Jazz Log
Read Jon’s introduction to the ’52 tracks’ series
Week 19: Loose Change – Joe Henderson
Spotify playlist for the series

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