by Austin Bealmear
Conductor and composer Ryan Truesdell will lead a program of music by the legendary Canadian jazz pianist, arranger, composer and bandleader, Gil Evans. The music will be performed by the Tennessee Jazz Collective jazz ensemble at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20, in Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music building on the MTSU campus.
Any fan of modern jazz knows the work of Gil Evans. From his 1940’s cool school arrangements for the Claude Thornhill big band to his impressionistic settings for Miles Davis to his experiments with Jimi Hendrix music in the 1970’s, Evans music always had a unique beauty, a transcendent spirit, and an opening door to the future.
Since he passed away in 1988, the only way to perform Gil Evans’ music was through transcriptions, which are often inaccurate, creating a misrepresentation of Gil’s music. The magic of Gil’s writing lies in the details in his use of harmony, very specific instrumentation, his unique approach to orchestration, and a very detailed rhythmic and notational structure. Without Gil’s original scores, it is nearly impossible to achieve the accuracy of these elements and perform this music as he originally intended.
Ryan Truesdell is a New York City based composer and producer whose resume includes Ingrid Jenson, Todd Coolman, US Air Force Band of the Pacific, and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. After years of painstaking research, countless hours of preparation, and with full support from the Evans family, Truesdell created the “Gil Evans Project” which made it possible, for the first time, to perform Gil’s music in its purest form, directly from his manuscripts.
“The concert will showcase historic arrangements and compositions,” said Jamey Simmons, Director of Jazz Studies at MTSU. Evans was one of the most influential jazz arrangers and composers of the 20th century. His legacy as a composer will be on display with the Tennessee Jazz Collective, a big band made up of students, faculty, and guest performers. “The exciting thing for us as performers will be the amazing timbres used in this music; woodwinds, French horns, tuba — all sounds that are not as common in most big bands.” He added, “In this music, the stage is set for improvising soloists in very special ways.”
In addition to the 7:30 p.m. concert, Truesdell will give a free and open masterclass for the public at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 20 in Saunders Fine Arts building room 303 on the MTSU campus.
Tickets for the Oct. 20 concert are $10 for the public and free for MTSU students, faculty and staff. Discounts for area band students and educators are also available. For reserve tickets call (615) 898-2724 or email Jamey Simmons. For more information about the MTSU Jazz Artist Series, please visit: www.mtsu.edu/music/jazzseries.php.
For further information on this and other concerts in the MTSU School of Music please visit the Events Calendars link at mtsumusic.com. More information about Ryan Truesdell and the Gil Evans project may be found at gilevansproject.com and ryantruesdell.com