Maria Schneider in the NYT:
Much of Maria Schneider’s large- ensemble jazz of the last six years has been nearly a figurative description of long-flow movement, particularly dancing or flying. And even when that’s not what it’s really about — as it is in her piece “Hang Gliding” or the various dances represented in her suite “Three Romances” — that’s still, in a sense, what it’s really about.
She put on “Concierto de Aranjuez,” from “Sketches of Spain,” one of Evans’s collaborations with Miles Davis. It starts with castanets and harp; then soft orchestral lines move in for the theme, before Davis enters, a minute into the piece. “Check this out,” she said.
Davis enters with a soft flourish, and the orchestra goes into a kind of slow motion. “You know how Armani knows how to dress a woman up and make her look just incredible?” she asked. “Gil knew how to dress a soloist and make that soloist so beautiful, you know? So there’s all this fluttering — this movement, the tuba’s playing these melodies, there’s all these things going on — and when Miles enters, everything stops.” As if stirring to life again, more lines form after a minute, with curious crisscrossing momentum; it sounds improvised, but it was all was precisely composed.
Ms. Schneider once conducted the piece from a transcription; then she did it again after Evans’s original scores were found. She was amazed by the difference. “I saw everything in them, and that’s when I realized: It’s like a watch, where every little gear attaches to something else. The music and the soloist are an inseparable entity.”
“Sometimes I feel like, in the world of jazz, people think that more chromaticism all the time is going to make their music hipper,” she said disappointedly. “It’s like, no. Music is a time-oriented art. So it’s how you play a person’s attention through time.
“I mean, here and there you’ll capture an experience in jazz that just makes you go ....” She opened her eyes wide and gasped. “But to me it happens less and less, and I think that’s because musicians think they have to keep playing more and more.