The first time I ever heard Bill play was on Miles Davis' Kind of Blue
, arguably the most influential recording of the last fifty years. From that album, I've selected two tunes. « Blue in Green » has new lyrics by Gene McDaniels, which encompass not only the tune, but also Miles' and John Coltrane
's solos. I've also included « So What », in which I've doubled the original tempo and built the arrangement around an orchestration of Bill's solo. I've inserted orchestrated versions of excerpts from Bill's improvisations into « All the Things You Are », « Autumn Leaves » and « I'm Getting Sentimental Over You » as well — treating the ensemble as if it were a giant piano instead of limiting it to a traditional big band role. Being especially fond of Bill's solo playing, I arranged and orchestrated his elegant improvised adagio, « Peace Piece ». In this version, you'll hear echoes of Copland, Bartok, and probably a few other classical composers, though the actual notes are Bill's.
In the opening choruses of « All the Things You Are » and « I'm Getting Sentimental Over You », I've treated the band in a way that I imagine Bill might have, had he been an arranger, creating contrapuntal interplay between lines and allowing the rhythmic aspect of the tunes to be carried by the horns only — no rhythm section.
We were fortunate to have been able to reach out all over the world to musicians who played and recorded with Bill over the years. Two of his rhythm sections, Eddie Gomez with Marty Morell and Marc Johnson with Joe LaBarbera provide the support for the brass and string ensembles which surround them. Alumni Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Toots Thielemans, and Tom Harrell (who was on Evans' last recording) all demonstrate their own remarkable musicianship here, as do Larry Coryell, Joe Lovano, Eddie Daniels, Hubert Laws, Dave Samuels, John Pizzarelli, Jeanie Bryson and New York Voices. My heartfelt thanks to them all for contributing their artistry to this project.