Gil Evans Voicings and Autumn Leaves

I’ve just finished another arrangement for the Lenoir Saxophone Ensemble, my  fifth arrangement for them.  This time I wrote a chart on the standard Autumn Leaves.  Here’s a MIDI realization if you’d like to hear my treatment of this tune.

[audio:|titles=Autumn Leaves]

In order to give this chart a different flavor from the previous ones I’ve written for the Lenoir Saxophone Ensemble I decided to play around with a voicing technique that Gil Evans, one of my favorite composer/arrangers, used frequently.  Evans was fond of voicing out chords in such a way that would put at least two parts together a second apart. In my arrangement I used this idea throughout.  Here’s one example, which can be heard in my arrangement just at the end of the rubato opening.

Normally I wouldn’t put a half step between the top two voices like this, as it obscures the sound of the highest pitch a bit.  In this particular case, however, it works pretty well because the melody is in the bari sax.  With this particular chord voicing the major 7th between the bari and tenor also help give it a dissonant grinding quality.

Rather than listen to my MIDI realization (a pale imitation of real instrumentalists anyway), you should check out how Evans used these very tight voicings to great effect.  Here’s an example, Evan’s composition The Time of the Barracudas.

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