AS RECORDED BY MILES DAVIS. ARRANGED BY GIL EVANS.
Gil Evans set up shop in his small New York apartment above a Chinese laundry acting as an advisor to a group of jazz musicians. Evans was already well-known as an adventurous arranger who took inspiration from classical composers of the day. Miles Davis was trying to separate himself from the bebop club scene, of which he was a part in Charlie Parker's groups. In 1947 Davis and Evans organized a group of musicians into a working nonet and began to rehearse some new material. The musicians that were in the group included: Miles Davis (trumpet), Mike Zwerin (trombone), Bill Barber (tuba), Junior Collins (French horn), Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone), Lee Konitz (alto saxophone), John Lewis (piano), Al McKibbon (bass), and Max Roach (drums). The emphasis of this group was the arrangements and the re-definition of the current jazz scene. They invented what came to be known as the 'cool school.'
In 1949 Davis enlisted Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, Gil Evans and Johnny Carisi to write 12 arrangements that were recorded by Capitol Records. Three recording sessions over the next year yielded the famous 'Birth of the Cool' record.
Here is Gil Evans' arrangement of the Johnny Mercer/Chummy MacGregor standard 'Moon Dreams' engraved from the manuscript - this is not a transcription. This is a brilliant arrangement full of color and orchestral nuance. In fact, it's quite astounding at the layers and depth of sound Gil was able to achieve with just 8 instruments (there's no piano in this arrangement). The harmonies and the rhythms are very sophisticated and impressionistic. This piece has been arranged for alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, horn in F, trombone, tuba, bass, drums. Recognizing that not every band has access to a horn, we've included a second trumpet part as an alternate for the horn part. And, a bass trombone would easily be able to play the tuba part in the event that you don't have that instrument at your disposal. This piece features a brief baritone sax solo (as played by Gerry Mulligan) that has been written out in full, though chords have been indicated for an ad-lib solo. The last part of the arrangement features arco bass. This classic, Gil Evans' masterpiece arrangement re-defined jazz and popular music arranging and should be a part of every band's library. This Jeffrey Sultanof Master Edition comes with complete performance and historical notes.
NOTE: This is part of our BIRTH OF THE COOL series of charts.