Gil Evans: Robbins' Nest - JazzWax

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June 24, 2008


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ivan Santiago

Many thanks for digging up that photo of Gil Evans and Peggy Lee, seemingly in the act of composing and playing piano. I've long been trying to track down information of Evans's work with Lee, not too successfully. She is listed among a handful of singers for whom he arranged, and Peggy herself said in a 1957 interview that ""[a]nother arranger I learned a lot from is Gil Evans. Not just musically, but from the man’s thinking. That’s a key, I believe, in all fields of art… A musician must start to think before he can ever become great."

Although if I have no hard proof, it's obvious to me that Gil arranged Peggy's version of "Where Flamingos Fly," on Decca. The arrangement is much too similar to the better-known version that he arranged for Helen Merrill, and which was actually recorded a few weeks after Peggy's.

Chris Payn

Hi. Wikipedia has 'Where Flamingoes Fly' written in 1971 but not released until '81. Yet I and my sisters seem to remember Peggy Lee's version of it being a favourite of our parents in the late 1950's, when we all lived in Naples, Italy. Are we wrong - or is Wikipedia?

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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