JazzTimes (6/99, p.111) - "...SVENGALI has a good deal of music on the leading edge....Unlike the evil manipulator of fiction, Evans was a benevolent genius who did not need hypnosis to induce his subjects to make beautiful music....some of the most unusual writing of his last two decades."
Recorded at Trinity Church and Philharmonic Hall, New York, New York in 1973.
Rescued from obscurity and the collectors' shops, the once-rare 1973 SVENGALI (Gil Evans' name scrambled) is back in print. Gil Evans emerged toward the end of the big band era as a composer and arranger, and collaborated with Miles Davis for several albums in the early 1960s (QUIET NIGHTS, SKETCHES OF SPAIN). Like Miles, Evans did not stand still musically and borrowed from jazz's outer limits as well as the progressive/experimental rock and electronic music of the late '60s/early '70s.
The results sometimes sound like Frank Zappa (circa 1968-71) jamming with the Duke Ellington Orchestra on Mars in the year 2010: swinging, yet daring, electric, searing and probing. The Evans band featured players who would go on to be leaders in their own right: David Sanborn, Billy Harper (who contributes two tunes) and Hannibal Marvin Peterson. This is an important album in the history of both big band jazz and fusion.