This is a sketch of Gil’s arrangement for Ella Speed which he recorded on his first record as a leader "Gil Evans plus 10". Miles Davis once said if you look at one page of Gil’s music you learn everything you need to know about music. And this page is chock full of important information; not only about the greatest jazz arranger, but about music in general.
This is a ink copy of the foreword that Bill Evans wrote for my book “The Jazz Composer’s Companion”. For years, I had it framed under some lead sheets he wrote for me which were also used for that book. I think you can learn and sense a lot about a person from seeing his handwriting, and Bill was a truly funny, generous, and highly intelligent and intuitive person. Maybe you can get a sense of that person in the way he wrote this and also in the interview he did about composing which appears in my book. I always refer back to his words for inspiration. I also refer you to his wonderful lecture “The Universal Mind of Bill Evans” where he responds to his brother to questions about the nature of learning as it relates to jazz improvisation. And I love the interview he did with me in my book about his process of composition.
I taught at the Mead School for Human Development in the late 70’s as part of the fulfillment of my doctoral studies in early childhood education. It was a delightful school and I couldn’t have had a better group of teachers and students surrounding me to find ways to get children to enter music through improvisation and to learn from the inside out. While there, I met John Snyder, who was then the president of Artist’s House records and he recommended I invite Ornette there one day to teach. It was an incredible joy to meet him for the first time and to introduce him to the student body who called him “my friend”, not knowing he was a world famous jazz icon. A video artist named Wendy Clark video taped the whole experience and here is a short excerpt which I think is so full of important information and a priceless view of Ornette as teacher. He was so generous and a delight to contribute his time to share his brilliance with a group of children and I'm so proud to have been able to experience this side rarely seen of the musical master.