Part of Analogue Productions’ series of 25 of the rarest and best sounding Prestige titles recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, this important reissue dates to 1957 and presents for the first time on vinyl in stereo Gil Evans’ debut as both the leader of his own recording session as well as the pianist. As Evans wrote in the liner notes, “Orchestration is one of the elements of composition. You might say that it is the choice of sound units and their manipulation as part of expressing a musical idea.” That simple statement beautifully sums up what’s at work here: seven tracks of remarkable beauty, masterfully executed by 11 players, including most prominently Steve Lacy (alto sax), Jimmy Cleveland (trombone), Paul Chambers (bass), and Evans himself at the keyboard. Remastered by Kevin Gray and impeccably pressed at QRP, the sound is excellent. Tonally rich and warm, but not overly fat or golden, with an airy and expansive soundstage in which the main instruments occupy the front section, layering back to the supporting players, with the drums and bass (mostly) at rear. The horns, especially, are creamy-lush, drums have plenty of snap, and there’s a terrific sense of balance and completeness to the whole.