The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow awarded the album 4½ stars stating "Evans' arrangements uplift many of Hendrix's more blues-oriented compositions and create a memorable set that is rock-oriented but retains the improvisation and personality of jazz"
This CD reissue (which adds additional material to the original LP program) is much more successful than one might have expected. Jimi Hendrix was scheduled to record with Gil Evans' Orchestra but died before the session could take place. A few years later, Evans explored ten of Hendrix's compositions with his unique 19-piece unit, an orchestra that included two French horns, the tuba of Howard Johnson, three guitars, two basses, two percussionists and such soloists as altoist David Sanborn, trumpeter Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson, Billy Harper on tenor, and guitarists Ryo Kawasaki and John Abercrombie. Evans' arrangements uplift many of Hendrix's more blues-oriented compositions and create a memorable set that is rock-oriented but retains the improvisation and personality of jazz. [This album was re-released in 2002 on the Bluebird label with four bonus tracks from the same sessions]
Reissue of Gil Evans' classic, controversial original album from 1974, in which his orchestra, which includes guitarist John Abercrombie, trumpeter Marvin C. Peterson and saxophonists David Sanborn and Billy Harper interpret nine Hendrix compositions. Includes the bonus tracks 'Little Wing' and alternate takes of 'Angel', 'Castles Made Of Sand', Up From The Skies' and 'Gypsy Eyes'.
· Gil Evans was to have recorded with Jimi Hendrix. The idea was to feature the Hendrix solo guitar and voice against the cushion of Evans' orchestrations, much in the manner of the Gil Evans-Miles Davis collaborations of the late 1940's and again in the 1950's. Denied the opportunity when the guitarist died in London a week before the preliminary meetings were set, Gil forged ahead with a whole concert of Hendrix compositions at Carnegie Hall, and, with the same young group, the sessions for this album.
· Evans told Rolling Stone magazine: "Stop and think about Hendrix' guitar work, about how difficult it was, and is, to play a guitar that way – the use, the correct use, of electronics. And yet for him it was the natural way. What I do is try to keep Jimi in mind when arranging his music. A very, very great guitar player."
· Gil Evans and Jimi Hendrix - a fusion of rock and jazz, working properly for once, each style drawing from the other. Gil was fond of saying that he looked for the "living spirit" in any music he heard. That spirit is here, alive and well, within these tracks.
2. CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC / LITTLE MISS LOVER
3. MEDLEY: CASTLES MADE OF SAND / FOXY LADY
4. UP FROM THE SKIES
5. 1983 – A MERMAN I SHOULD TURN TO BE
6. VOODOO CHILE
7. GYPSY EYES
8. LITTLE WING
9. ANGEL (ALTERNATE TAKE)
10. CASTLES MADE OF SAND (ALTERNATE TAKE)
11. UP FROM THE SKIES (ALTERNATE TAKE)
12. GYPSY EYES (ALTERNATE TAKE)
- Gil Evans - piano, electric piano, arranger, conductor
- Hannibal Marvin Peterson - trumpet, vocals
- Lew Soloff - trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet
- Peter Gordon - French horn
- Pete Levin - French horn, synthesizer
- Tom Malone - trombone, bass trombone, flute, synthesizer, arranger
- Howard Johnson - tuba, bass clarinet, electric bass, arranger
- David Sanborn - alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute
- Billy Harper - tenor saxophone, flute
- Trevor Koehler - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone, arranger
- John Abercrombie, Ryo Kawasaki - electric guitar
- Keith Loving - guitar
- Don Pate - bass
- Michael Moore - electric bass, acoustic bass
- Bruce Ditmas - drums
- Warren Smith - vibraphone, marimba, chimes, latin percussion
- Sue Evans - drums, congas, percussion