Five SALUTARY Stars! This marvelous large-scale jazz orchestral work by the legendary Hall of Fame composer, arranger, and pianist Gil Evans is worthy of being included with his Miles Davis collaborations and near the front of his own very personal, well-developed catalogue of jazz classics. Many associate this recording as a bookend to "Into The Hot", but that recording, although it bore Evans' photo on the cover, was Evans as "producer", giving his studio time to Cecil Taylor's quintet and John Carisi's big band and arrangements. But "Out of the Cool" is pure, elegant, patient, complex, swinging Gil Evans at his best, featuring an all-star group with the likes of Johnny Coles, Jimmy Knepper, Tony Studd, Budd Johnson, Ray Crawford, Ron Carter and Charlie Persip in the 15 piece orchestra.
"La Nevada" (aka "The Theme") is based on an infectious 14-note repetitive riff that serves as the basis for soloists to really dig into their improvisations, especially trombonist Jimmy Knepper, guitarist Ray Crawford (of Ahmad Jamal's "Three Strings" fame), trumpeter Johnny Coles and Evans' own jabbing piano chords, pushed along nicely by Charlie Persip and Ron Carter on this 15 minute blazer. The languid beauty of "Where Flamingos Fly" rides Knepper's appealing trombone, and Kurt Weill's "Bilboa Song" features bass legend Ron Carter's elegant statements in a 3 and a half minute beauty. George Russell's jazz standard "Stratusphunk" has Tony Studd's bass trombone etching the outlines and walking in cadence with Carter's bass line and some interesting re-workings by Evans' arrangement. "Sunken Treasure" is a jazz etude that explores the bass clef while Coles solos midrange and higher with bluesy, funky swagger. A big band classic on the vaunted Impulse Records label by one of jazz' great orchestra leaders, composers, and arrangers. Five HUGE Stars! (5 tracks; Time-37:20)