70 Years of Berliner Festspiele

Gil Evans Orchestra

Concert as part of Berliner Jazztage 1976
Philharmonie, 3.11.1976

Famous for his particular delight in experimentation, Gil Evans consistently expanded the stylistic frontiers of jazz. The Gil Evans Orchestra performed as part of the Berliner Jazztage in 1976.

Gil Evans sits behind his piano in a dark room. Sheet music can be seen on the piano. Gil Evans wears sunglasses and, under a dark jacket, a light coloured shirt.

Gil Evans Orchestra, Berliner Jazztage 1976. Film, colour, sound. Film still

© RBB | Courtesy of the artist

  • 43 min

“Gil Evans is the best arranger I know. Since the moment I first heard Charlie Parker, I’ve found nothing else that knocks me out time after time like his music.”
(Miles Davis)

These words of praise from the American trumpeter Miles Davis are no accident, because he recorded three studio albums with the Canadian Gil Evans that are now among the works that epitomize cool jazz. Gil Evans aroused attention with an orchestral line-up that integrated instruments previously reserved for classical music such as the bassoon, French horn, oboe and tuba. With arrangements often for up to 20 musicians, he created soundscapes of unusual colours that nevertheless kept within his own strictly structured compositions. For the second of his three appearances at the Berliner Jazztage, the then 62 year old assembled greats such as the trumpeters Jon Faddis and Lew Soloff, Peter Levin on synthesizer and Bob Stewart on the tuba, together with 25-year-old Sue Evans on percussion for arrangements he had brought along from an album recorded two years before on which he had reinterpreted tracks by the rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix.


Trumpet Jon Faddis
Trumpet Lew Soloff
French horn John Clark
French horn, synthesizer Peter Levin
Piccolo, trombone Janis Elaine Robinson
Tuba Bob Stewart
Guitar Van Manakas
Tenor saxophone George Adams
Drums, timpani Sue Evans
Bass Mike Richmond
Bandleader, piano Gil Evans

© RBB | Courtesy the Artist