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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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DIZZY GILLESPIE

Live at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival

MJF Records 0888072303379

 

 

 

 



1. Introduction
2. Trinidad, Goodbye
3. Day After
4. Poor Joe
5. Dizzy’s Comedy Sketch
6. A Night in Tunisia
7. Band Introduction
8. Ungawa
9. Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)
Dizzy Gillespie – Trumpet, vocals
James Moody – Flute, tenor sax
Kenny Barron – Piano
Christopher White – Bass
Rudy Collins – Drums
Big Black – Congas

 

Dizzy Gillespie was a popular performer at the Monterey Jazz Festival and you can hear why on this recording, which has never been released before. The audience loves his mixture of high-powered jazz and wacky humour. This particular line-up of the Gillespie Quintet had been together for nearly three years and their togetherness shows, although the rhythm section gets temporarily lost during James Moody’s barnstorming solo on Trinidad, Goodbye. The frantic tempo of this number also makes Dizzy’s solo rather fragmentary, but Kenny Barron produces a more integrated solo.

Day After, written in memory of Billie Holiday, is a slow ballad which allows Dizzy to construct a thoughtful solo, bending and squeezing notes with aplomb. Poor Joe is a calypso with Dizzy contributing a jovial vocal followed by a fiery trumpet solo. Dizzy’s Comedy Sketch is the chance for some verbal interplay between Gillespie and bassist Christopher White, with ironic jokes on White’s surname and reference to a lady called Sybil Rights. White’s double bass introduces the bustling A Night in Tunisia, which includes trumpet and flute in pleasing harmony and more lively solos from Gillespie and Moody, after which Christopher White gets a long but quite interesting solo.

Ungawa features guest conga drummer Big Black, although even I (a drummer) find a nine-minute conga solo a bit too much. This track segues into a brief No More Blues to round off the concert. Overall it’s an enjoyable if sometimes self-indulgent session but not essential for everyone’s collection. The recording quality is occasionally below par and Dizzy’s small groups have often sounded more together – for example, in their late 1950s manifestation, with Les Spann on guitar and Junior Mance at the piano. If you haven’t heard their 1959 album Have Trumpet, Will Excite, investigate it as soon as possible.

Tony Augarde



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