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The Jazz FM Awards 2013: Meet the Nominees: Ryan Truesdell – Album of the Year

Ryan Truesdell apprenticed with arranger and composer Maria Schneider, who apprenticed with Gil Evans. That makes him, in effect, Gil Evans’ musical and spiritual grandson. He does his heritage proud, taking 10 previously unrecorded Evans arrangements from manuscript—or, in some cases, expanding Evans sketches—to performance by a superb collection of musicians. The scores go back as far as Evans’ Claude Thornhill period of the 1940s and up to 1971. This music is a reminder that 100 years after his birth and 24 following his death, Evans still shows the way. The sparkling cast of soloists includes Steve Wilson, Scott Robinson, Joe Locke and Luciana Souza.  This new album, which is best described as the new old works of Gil Evans—as presented, preserved, completed and polished up by Ryan Truesdell. Centennial is part 100th birthday present/tribute to a sadly departed giant of jazz, but it’s also a gift to the world.  It is also part archaeological unveiling and part career-spanning pastiche, with all three ideals adding up to a brilliant album.  It doesn’t get any better than this.