This four-disc, 100-track box set traces famed bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's career from his early years with Teddy Hill, Lionel Hampton and Cab Calloway through his work with figures like Coleman Hawkins and Billy Eckstine. It includes his 1947 concert at Carnegie Hall with Charlie Parker and concludes with the famous sessions that Gillespie recorded with Parker and Thelonious Monk for Norman Granz in 1950. At a budget price, this package captures Gillespie's peak years and performances and makes a deep introduction to this amazing musician. The sound transfers are decent, but audiophiles may find that the noise reduction processes used on these tracks leaves some of them sounding a little on the thin and muted side. Given the fair price and the volume of material compiled here, though, this set is a smart purchase.
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.
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".
Dizzy Gillespie (along with altoist Leo Wright, pianist Lalo Schfrin, bassist Bob Cunningham, and drummer Chuck Lampkin) were in peak form for this live performance. Their versions of "Kush," "Salt Peanuts," and "The Mooche" are all excellent, but it is "A Night in Tunisia," with its absolutely stunning trumpet break (which lasts half a chorus), that is most memorable.
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.
This single CD reissues all of the music from two rare Dizzy Gillespie LPs. Dating from 1963-64, the set features the trumpeter's interpretation of the score of the obscure film The Cool World (although these are not the actual performances heard in the movie) plus 11 themes from other films. Gillespie, who is joined by James Moody (on tenor, alto and flute), pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Chris White and drummer Rudy Collins, was in peak form during that era and hopefully all of his other Philips recordings will also be reissued by Verve in the future. Although the liner notes deal only with The Cool World, the other set is actually of greater interest. Gillespie uplifts such tunes as the "Theme from Exodus," "Moon River," "Days of Wine and Roses," "Never on Sunday" and "Walk on the Wild Side," turning them into swinging jazz. The Cool World pieces (all composed by Mal Waldron) are also worth hearing although they are not as memorable overall. This set is a real historical curiosity and, although not essential, it is a release that should please Dizzy Gillespie fans while reminding others of how great a trumpeter he was before his long decline.
Finally available again after a 30-plus year absence from American shelves is the soundtrack to Shirley Clarke's gritty but brilliant 1964 film, Cool World, about young people growing up in Harlem. The score was written and arranged by pianist Mal Waldron but was performed and recorded by Dizzy Gillespie's quintet of the time. This set is one of Diz's best records of the 1960s (which is saying something), and one of the best jazz film scores period. Diz's band at the time included James Moody on tenor and flute, a young Kenny Barron on piano, bassist Chris White, and Rudy Collins on drums. The 11 cues that range between two and five minutes are deeply rooted in the language of hard bop and blues with some excellent, if brief, modal touches by Waldron…
Two CD release featuring some of the greatest Jazz figures together on one stage! This double set contains three of the nearly 50 concerts played by the so called Giants of Jazz, a true all-star group organized by Jazz producer George Wein that toured Europe in 1971 and 1972. Alongside Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, these sets feature musical contributions from Sonny Stitt, Kai Winding and Art Blakey. Disc One was recorded in Poland and Germany. Disc Two was recorded in Italy.