NPR profiles the master of orchestration Gil Evans. His collaborations with Miles Davis yielded a handful of classic recordings:
Their first collaboration was a series of intricate mid-size ensemble recordings, eventually compiled on the album Birth of the Cool. At the time, that music went largely unnoticed by the public, but the Birth of the Cool sessions have since been hailed by jazz historians as landmark recordings. For Evans and Davis, artistic and popular success came with their next project, Miles Ahead. The 1957 recording presented a jazz suite — a modernist concerto — built around Davis’ trumpet. It was so successful that the two paired up again for similar efforts, including an adaptation of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and the Iberian-tinged Sketches of Spain. The unique, rich orchestration on these records established Evans as a major jazz innovator.
Listen to the program here.