JAZZ LEGENDS - Dizzy Gillespie
LIVE at the FESTIVAL HALL 1987
Lover come back to me
Without you - No me
A Night in Tunisia
BBC Music BBC J 7002-2
UK around £11.50
No one would doubt Dizzy Gillespie's credentials as a 'jazz legend', he was
the originator of the be-bop school of trumpet playing. His compositions
still feature strongly in the repertoire of most Jazz orchestras and for
that matter, small groups.
When this recording was made by the BBC in 1987, 'Diz' was 70 years old and
the concert was one of a series undertaken to celebrate the event, he did
however, continue to tour with various bands until his death in 1993.
Dizzy was just as important to the creation of be-bop, as his partner Alto
saxist Charlie Parker; they appeared to feed from the inventiveness of each
other. The majority of his time, was spent playing in small groups and appearing
as a guest artist at the world's major jazz festivals. The Big band was important
to him and he really created the Be-bop Big band that we know today, right
back in 1947. He was a relaxed and natural Musical Director, who led his
band from the front and by example, he could always get the best from his
sidemen. In Dizzy's Band there was always a young trumpet player, he called
them his disciples, in this band it was John Faddis, in the later United
Nation's Orchestra, it was Cuban Arturo Sandoval. The Saxes on the record
include Sam Rivers who worked with Miles Davies in the 60's and Lead Alto
Jerry Dodgion who had played with the Basie Band and in the Benny Goodman
Orchestra. The trombones included the vastly experienced Britt Woodman who
had played for some time in the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Much of what is played here, has it's roots in Dizzy's earlier bands, but
it all sounds fresh and little has happened since 1987 in the Big Band world
that has more excitement about it. It is not the kind of record to play while
the family have tea, it is music for those who like this style to relax and
The programme commences with Emanon a Gillespie original and Pianist James
Williams is the first soloist followed by Gillespie, tenor man Ralph Moore
and John Faddis on Trumpet. It gets things off to a great start. Lover come
back to me is an unusual version of this old tune and a feature for Diz.
Round Midnight is a tune composed by Thelonius Monk, who was once fired by
Gillespie from his first band for his eccentric behaviour. Manteca is another
Gillespie composition with lots of soloists featured. Without you - no me,
is supposed to be based on something Gillespie said to Louis Armstrong, whether
the story is correct or not, it's based on truth!
A Gillespie concert without his own Night in Tunisia, would not be right
and the Champ has a similar vintage.
According to author Alyn Shipman, a biographer of Gillespie, in a book called
"Groovin' High", this was the only recording made of this edition of the
band. Thank goodness for the BBC!
Don Mather is a Saxophone Player and Bandleader based in