The Mother of the Book

1. Kikue (Hall – soprano sax; Tureski – vibes; Sankaran – mrdangam; Sanborn – trumpet)
2. Old Woman River (Amaro – bass flute)
3. The Mother of the Book (Umm-ul-Kitab) * (Becker – tabla; Sankaran – mrdangam)
4. The Folk (ensemble)
5. Muddy Waters (Little Walter; Lakeshore Theme; Willie D.; Otis; Whisper from Theresa’s;
Walkin’ Up Halsted) (Hall – tenor sax; Piltch – bass; Tureski – vibes; Clarke – drums)

All compositions by Glen Hall. Arranged by Gil Evans (*arranged by Glen Hall and Gil Evans).

– Personnel – Glen Hall – tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
– Gil Evans – arranger, conductor, electric piano
– NEXUS (Bob Becker, Robin Engelman, Russell Hartenberger, John Wyre) – percussion
– Eugene Amaro – flute, bass flute
– Lawrence Cherney – english horn
– Terry Clarke – drums
– Stacy Hersch – synthesizer
– Bob Murphy – synthesizer
– David Piltch – electric bass
– Harvey Saltzman – bassoon, contrabassoon
– Chase Sanborn – trumpet
– Trichy Sankaran – mrdangam
– Trevor Tureski – vibes
– Recorded February 23-24, 1985, Studio 4S, Toronto.
– Engineer – David Dobbs
– Producers – Glen Hall, Bill Garrett
– Executive Producer – Glen Hall
– Mastered by George Graves and Scott Murley

Since I first saw his band in New York in 1971, I dreamed of making music with Gil Evans. He was a combination of insightful artist, consummate craftsman, and creative adventurer. When I met him in 1973, he was friendly, helpful and open; he even invited me to stay at his apartment to study scores. I felt an immediate rapport with Gil, and when, after many twists and turns of fate, I finally set up a situation that would allow me to work with him, it wasn’t at all the “master-disciple” relationship one might expect. Instead Gil treated me a respected colleague and co-creator. For instance, many reviewers have commented on the Gil-like instrumentation of the recording. In fact, Gil agreed to do the project in part because I had already selected the instrumental palette (bass flute, bassoon, trumpet, saxes/bass clarinet (me), seven percussionists including Indian drum master Trichy Sankaran, two synthesizers, electric bass and electric piano)-one he had never used before: it was the challenge of the new that captured his interest. When we worked on my piece “The Mother of the Book”, he made one suggestion-“Use a trumpet here”-and that was it until the rehearsals (that Gil thought my piece was good enough as it stood was the highest compliment I have ever received). When working together, I thought he would take the reins and shape the arrangements according to his lights. On the contrary, he insisted I contribute ideas, some of which we used, some we discarded. At one point he said, “You know what you want. Tell me.” His simple remark changed my life. That he trusted my creativity meant that I could trust it too. That was Gil’s legacy to me.


Jazz Times (U.S.A.)

Among the last recorded sessions made by Gil Evans is this from 1985 with the Winnipeg-born saxophonist Glen Hall, and in this folk music-inspired setting, the Evans enigma is ever present. One might call this program a suite in five compositions, Evans’ arrangements invoking various world music sounds and rhythms and getting the most from an ensemble pairing of brass with unusual reeds. The ensemble for “Kikue” is a paean to an international sensibility with dashes of minimalism, featuring an English horn soloist* and Hall’s soprano saxophone; even here Gil’s typically lush orchestration remains identifiable.

“The Mother of the Book” (Umm-ul-Kitab) is a collaborative arrangement for Evans and Hall, employing tabla, soprano, percussion and english horn for a dreamy pastoral mood. Restive and meditative is “Old Woman River,” emphasizing flues and marimba, a work full of movement and personality. “The Folk” is also percussive; and its avian-like whistles around bass clarinet, contra-bassoon, and bass guitar riffing like a choir of Haitian vaccines is funky stuff! By no stretch of the imagination is the closing “Muddy Waters” a blues. It is texturally consistent with the rest of the program, and offers a psychologically inspired alternative to how we think about blues culture and performers like Little Walter and Willie D (Dixon?). The repetition of its cadence heightens the modds of their despair. This is probably the most sytlistically postmodern association of theme and music, thoroughly cutting across the expected. -Ron Wellburn-

Jazz Podium (Germany)

Three years preceding his death, in 1985, Gil Evans arranged material of his compatriot, saxophonist and composer Glen Hall, into a sound picture of fall colorings. “The Mother of the Book” is an absolute materspiece. Over thick rhythmical foundations spun out by the percussion ensemble Nexus, Evan’s delicate arrangements unfold more in all their possibilities. He cannot avoid quoting himself either, as when he lets Cahse Sanborn’s trumpet regale over a background in “Kikue”, that indirectly refers to the “classic Evans” -by ways of an ironic nod towards Miles, whose “Bitches Brew” is cunningly evoked in its combination of electric piano, percussion, bass and vibes. However, this productions holds itself with limits of self-reference. Evans mangaes to spread out his warm, soft and totally unsentimental sound. As a closer, Hall and Evans look towards another important figure in the music field: Muddy Waters. Such is the caseof this six-part suite by Hall, in which Evans presents his very individual and refined interpretation of urban blues. Superb, masterful and amazing. -Thomas Wrtche-

Jazz Nu (Holland)

Glen Hall is een van die vele onbekende, maar getalenteerde musici/componisten. Voor dit project liet hij zich (bege)leiden door grand old master Gil Evans.

“The Mother of the Book” is niet schokkend: noch in positieve noch in negatieve zin een zeer adequaat visitejaartje voor Hall. De muziek is fris, soms bewust primitief in het electronicagebruik, met mooie arrangementen (van Evans). Een van de aardige dingen aan dit project is de bonte versameling mensen die eraan meewerken: klassick geschoolde musici, popmusici, percussie-freaks, en echte jazzmsusici. Het is een eclectisch geheel geworden. “I like to swim around in it for a while” zegt Evan ovet zijn werkwijze. Ik vrees dat hij net een dagje te weinig heeft gezwommen: het resultaat is symphatiek, maar er had veel meer in kunnen zitten. -Marcel Kranendonk-