Possessor of one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century, Sarah Vaughan ranked with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in the very top echelon of female jazz singers. She often gave the impression that with her wide range, perfectly controlled vibrato, and wide expressive abilities, she could do anything she wanted with her voice. Although not all of her many recordings are essential (give Vaughan a weak song and she might strangle it to death), Sarah Vaughan's legacy as a performer and a recording artist will be very difficult to match in the future…
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."
Jazz Icons: Sarah Vaughan features the “Divine One” in her prime, wrapping her sultry voice around jazz standards such as “Lover Man”, “Misty” and “I Got Rhythm” and soaring on popular showtunes such as “Over The Rainbow” and “Maria”. One of the greatest voices of the 20th Century, her renditions of songs by Harold Arlen, Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Burke, the Gershwins and Stephen Sondheim are pure diva magic. These three performances demonstrate why Sarah Vaughan is invariably mentioned in the same breath as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
It's 1940s and Dizzy Gillespie's big band are at their absolute peak! Listening to this record makes me wonder why there ever became such a thing as jazz snobbery. This music doesn't sound like the domain for snobs. In fact it showcases jazz in a crucial and innovative place. Here we are in this place where swing and be-bop have long ago cross polinated eachother (one needed to have the other anyway:we all know in what way",you've got Dizzy whose at once both a great intellectual musician as well as being able to make it move. And here you have him playing with these…well nowadays you'd have to call them all stars such as Dexter Gordon, Milt Jackson, Charlie Parker, Cozy Cole, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Clarke…the list goes on like that and BIM BAM BOOM you've got big band be-bop!
When Detroiter David Usher and Dizzy Gillespie founded the Dee Gee record label, they might have had an inkling that their project could, and would, fail financially due to poor distribution, the conversion from 78s to LPs, and the heavy hammer of the taxman. They might have felt, but could not have imagined, that they would create some of the most essential and pivotal jazz recordings for all time, not to mention some of the last great sides of the pioneering bebop era. Gillespie's large ensembles brought to public attention the fledgling young alto and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, such Detroiters as guitarist Kenny Burrell or pianist/vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and vocalists Joe Carroll, Freddy Strong and Melvin Moore. Considering the years – 1951 and 1952 – this was revolutionary breakthrough music from a technical and entertainment aspect, delightful music that has stood the test of time and displays the trumpeter in his prime as a bandleader.
This edition presents, for the first time ever on CD, Dizzy Gillespie's complete performance at the 1961 Monterey Jazz Festival. While humorously introduced by Diz as “A Musical Safari”, the set is a mixture of the repertoire the quintet was playing during that period, including an excursion into the realm of bossa nova. The quintet features the wonderful Leo Wright and Argentinean pianist Lalo Schifrin, as well as singer Joe Carroll on one track.
Dizzy Gillespie brings together tenor saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins for four extended cuts, and in the process comes up with one of the most exciting "jam session" records in the jazz catalog. While the rhythm section of pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Tommy Bryant, and drummer Charlie Persip provides solid rhythmic support, Stitt and Rollins get down to business trading fours and reeling off solo fireworks. Apparently, Gillespie had stoked the competitive fires before the session with phone calls and some gossip, the fallout of which becomes palpable as the album progresses.
This unusual session consists of a complex six-movement suite by J.J. Johnson featuring Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet over a brass choir (six trumpets, two trombones, two bass trombones, four French horns and two tubas), bass, drums, percussion and two harps. Often reminiscent of classical music, Johnson's writing allows plenty of room for Gillespie to improvise. The result is a rather unique set of music that is well worth searching for.