The Gil Evans Orchestra

Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix

Canadian-born jazz composer Gil Evans (1912-1988) grew up 40-some miles south of here in Stockton, where he led his own band through most of the 1930s. After joining Claude Thornhill’s orchestra in New York, he became the man who infused American jazz with classical harmonic concepts; he’s perhaps best known as an arranger-collaborator on some of Miles Davis’ more adventurous projects. Evans had planned to collaborate with Jimi Hendrix before the guitarist died; this updated reissue of a 1974 release, with a version of “Little Wing” and four alternate takes tacked on, details Evans’ ongoing fascination with Hendrix’s music. The big-band arrangements, only three of the eight original tracks by Evans, range from “Angel,” featuring bizjazz saxist David Sanborn, to a tuba-driven “Voodoo Chile,” and a long, groovy “Up From the Skies” with Ryo Kawasaki on guitar. A period piece, but an essential one.