Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio from the original master tape
Plated and pressed at RTI
Deluxe gatefold tip-on jacket
The brilliant arranger, composer, and pianist Gil Evans had already collaborated with Miles Davis on Birth of the Cool and Miles Ahead and made his own debut album Gil Evans & Ten for Prestige when he signed with World Pacific Records in 1958 and made the first of two albums for the label: New Bottle Old Wine with featured soloist Cannonball Adderley. The next year Evans was back in the studio to record the follow-up Great Jazz Standards with two different ensembles featuring the likes of trumpeter Johnny Coles, trombonists Curtis Fuller and Jimmy Cleveland, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Budd Johnson, guitarist Ray Crawford, drummer Elvin Jones, and others. As the title promises, the album presents a program of great jazz standards leading off with Bix Beiderbecke's "Davenport Blues," a showcase for Coles, before launching into a shimmering version of Thelonious Monk's "Straight No Chaser" where Coles, Lacy, Fuller, and Evans all get the spotlight. A stunning presentation of Fran Landesman and Tommy Wolf's "Ballad of the Sad Young Men" and a no-nonsense take on Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" close out the first side. On the flipside, John Lewis' "Django" gets an impressionistic arrangement full of surprises, while a modernistic version of Don Redman's "Chant of the Weed" is a solo vehicle for Johnson's clarinet. The album culminates with a soaring performance of the Evans original "Theme," later known as "La Nevada."