Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gil Evans Orchestra plays Hendrix

Sometimes you see a record and do a double take, like I must have read that wrong. Then you look again and it did say "plays the music of Jimi Hendrix". Gil is rocking the flannel like he is CCR or firehose or something. I figured anyone could make it happen with the ballads(Sting did right?), but Gil goes for it -"Crosstown Traffic","Foxey Lady", and "Voodoo Chile" are all on here. According to the liner notes , Gil was planning on recording with Hendrix a la his collaboration with Miles, but Hendrix had to go and die. Wasn't Hendrix supposed to record with Miles as well before he died? Maybe it was for the best. The slow jams are not bad like "angel" or "castles made of sand" but they stick to a pretty straight forward instrumental take unlike the rockers where they tend to push it in a new direction.
Once I bought it I was nervous that it would be close to muzak, but they hold up well -even tackle the vocals with ahmmm.... gusto on some tracks. John Abercrombie, Keith Loving and Ryo Kawasakis must have been a little nervous about getting the guitar credits on this, but they all hold up OK -no one tries to be Hendrix Jr The horn stabs on "crosstown traffic" are pretty cool so is the trombone solo. Trombone on a Hendrix cover and it isn't Ska? Not bad. The synths are used in a goofy and fun way. The give themselves some room to "freak out" on an 11 minute Foxey Lady, which also benefits from the horn section.
Side 2 opens with a swinging version of "up from the skies" that sounds like on of the more orchestrated Jimmy Smith records minus the organ. "Voodoo Chile" is another good one. There is some kind of vocoder or guy singing through his horn effect that is pretty cool. They finish it off with a nice version of "Gypsy Eyes" that is the funkiest thing on here-has a couple moments thst sound like JB's grunt stuck in. I was surprised that "little wing" wasn't on here. All in all a pretty fun record and something you could always drop on mixtapes.

RCA Records CPL1-0667 1974. For $2.99 this was money well spent.

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