This double CD collects all of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band sides from 1946-1949 for the Bluebird and Musicraft labels, including seven previously unissued cuts. These bands were renowned for their hard-swinging styles that accented the toughness of bebop wailing R&B and Latin/Cuban grooves. Some of Diz's sidemen included Milt Jackson, Cecil Payne, Ray Brown, Willie Bobo, Yusef Lateef, Johnny Hartman, Leo Parker, John Lewis, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Dorham, James Moody, Ernie Henry, Al McKibbon, and dozens of others. Here are formidable versions of "Two Bass Hit," "Cubana Bop," "Jump Did-Le-Ba," "Oop-Pop-A-Da," and many others. In addition to the studio sides there is an entire Paris concert included from a radio transcription, making these sides indispensable. The only downside is the lack of liner notes – though full session notation is included.
Jazz collectors can be an obsessive, detail-minded bunch, so when they acquire Vol. 2 of CAP's Dizzy in South America series, they're bound to be frustrated by the fact that the credits don't give any exact recording dates or let you know exactly where in South America each 1956 performance was recorded. As frustrating as that is, however, Vol. 2 is a CD that collectors and Dizzy Gillespie fans will be glad to get their hands on. No serious Gillespie aficionado could resist hearing previously unreleased live performances of "Tin Tin Deo," "The Champ," and "Groovin' High," especially when the sound quality is decent (by 1956 standards) and the band boasts such heavyweights as Phil Woods (alto sax), Benny Golson (tenor sax), Jimmy Powell (alto sax), Walter Davis, Jr. (piano), and the tour's musical director Quincy Jones (trumpet). Gillespie has many inspired moments on trumpet, and featured vocalist Austin Cromer provides some memorable crooning on "Because of You" and "Wonder Why".
In the summer of 1956, the famed Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell arranged for Dizzy Gillespie to embark on a worldwide goodwill-ambassador tour sponsored by the State Department. Gillespie and an all-star big band featuring trumpeter Quincy Jones, the late trombonist Melba Liston, alto saxophonist Phil Woods, and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson performed in Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil to frenzied, beret-wearing fans. Recordings were made but they weren't commercially available and were played only for a select group of musicians before Gillespie's death in 1993. Now the sides have been released, showcasing Dizzy at his bebopping best.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. Dizzy Gillespie meets the Phil Woods Quintet – a group that already has a great trumpeter in the form of Tom Harrell – which makes the album here a double-horn delight! Dizzy's on trumpet throughout, and Harrell plays both trumpet and flugelhorn – and the pair work well with Woods' alto in the front line, sharing back and forth, and creating a lively interplay between the different voices of their instruments. Dizzy is impeccable – as he always is at this point in his career – and rhythms are nice and tight, thanks to piano from Hal Galper, bass from Steve Gilmore, and drums from Bill Goodwin. Titles include a great reading of Galper's Loose Change" – plus "Terrestris", "Love For Sale", "Oon Ga Wa", and "Whasidishean".
These sessions document unequivocally why Dizzy Gillespie is still considered one of the greatest improvisers in the history of jazz, for his mastery of the instrument, his command of time, his control over musical ideas, and his ability to entertain. He was blessed during this period, which spans 1954 to 1963, with stellar sidemen, unparalleled arrangements, and a surge of excitement for making music.
On February 9, 1953, Dizzy Gillespie played a live concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris that was recorded, though when excerpts were first released, there were only enough used to fill one 10" LP. This two-disc set not only includes the entire 84-minute show (which actually fills just over one disc) for the first time on CD, it also adds 16 studio tracks that Gillespie cut in Paris that same month, as well as eight Gillespie-less studio tracks (also done in Paris in February 1953) by three of his sidemen, working under the name the Wade Legge Trio. It's the live Salle Pleyel set that's the main feature, presented here, according to the liner notes, in an "unedited remastered version of that evening's events with a number of butchered solos fully restored plus the addition of [alto and baritone saxophonist] Bill Graham's previously discarded showcase "'I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance,'" for which Dizzy made a rare appearance on piano."
Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time (some would say the best), Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis's emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy's style was successfully recreated. Somehow Gillespie could make any "wrong" note fit and harmonically he was ahead of everyone in the 1940s, including Charlie Parker. Unlike Bird, Dizzy was an enthusiastic teacher who wrote down his musical innovations and was eager to explain them to the next generation, thereby insuring that bebop would eventually become the foundation of jazz.
Dizzy Gillespie was also one of the key founders of Afro-Cuban (or Latin) jazz, adding Chano Pozo's conga to his orchestra in 1947 and utilizing complex polyrhythms early on. The leader of two of the finest big bands in jazz history, Gillespie differed from many in the bop generation by being a masterful showman who could make his music seem both accessible and fun to the audience. With his puffed-out cheeks, bent trumpet (which occurred by accident in the early '50s when a dancer tripped over his horn) and quick wit, Dizzy was a colorful figure to watch. A natural comedian, Gillespie was also a superb scat singer and occasionally played Latin percussion for the fun of it, but it was his trumpet playing and leadership abilities that made him into a jazz giant.