The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays The Music of Jimi Hendrix

18th March 2016

Title: Plays The Music of Jimi Hendrix

Label: Speakers Corner

When I saw this album I did wince a little and wondered if I might be in store for a bit of cheesy jazz with Hendrix slapped on in a desperate attempt to add street cred. Not so, in fact, the connection is a lot stronger than you might think because Hendrix was due to record with Evans’ Orchestra but died before the session could take place.

Here is the second best choice, with Evans’ 19-piece orchestra going all-out. Fancy hearing a batch of French horns and a tuba tackle Voodoo Chile? Now’s your chance, complete with a smattering of jazz stars here including altoist David Sanborn, trumpeter Marvin “Hannibal” Peterson, Billy Harper on tenor and guitarists Ryo Kawasaki and John Abercrombie.

The result in terms of content is excellent with a perfect blend of improv-type jazz but with a rock-oriented approach that is enhanced by the blues edge.

As for the audiophile content of this new pressing? From the the first delicate sounds that signals the beginning of Angel, you can hear the broad nature of the soundstage which is expansive plus how fragile and delicate are the treble frequencies that offer a clarity that is most attractive.

There are vocals on this LP, incidentally, via trumpet man, Marvin C. Peterson who sings on Crosstown Traffic/Little Miss Lover and does an excellent job, it has to be said, offering a real transparency in his delivery while bass is springy, fast and provides an essential foundation to the rhythm. Meanwhile, the soft brass effects on Castles Made of Sand lend an easy, relaxed air to the arrangement which is punctured by electric guitar and vibes that bring added depth to the music.

All in all, this is a fine, rather engrossing, LP.