1. Wheatleigh Hall
3. Con Alma
4. Haute Mon'
6. Tour de Force
7. Ballad Medley: (a) I'm Through With Love, (b) The Nearness Of You,
(c) Moonlight In Vermont, (d) Summertime
1. Dizzy Atmosphere
2. Ballad Medley: (a) I'm Through With Love, (b) Without a Word of
Warning, (c) Sweet Lorraine, (d) Love Walked In, (e) September Song
3. Ballad Medley: (a) On the Alamo, (b) Stompin' at the Savoy, (c)
This Time the Dream's on Me, (d) Time after Time, (e) Gone with the
4. The Way You Look Tonight
5. Rio Pakistan
6. It's Only A Paper Moon
7. Purple Sounds
Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet, plus:
CD1, tracks 1-4
Sonny Rollins - Tenor sax (tracks 1, 2)
Sonny Stitt - Tenor sax (tracks 3, 4)
Ray Bryant - Piano
Thomas Bryant - Bass
Charlie Persip - Drums
CDI, tracks 5-7
Roy Eldridge, Harry Edison - Trumpets
Oscar Peterson - Piano
Herb Ellis - Guitar
Ray Brown - Bass
Buddy Rich - Drums
CDII, tracks 1-4
Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Paul Gonsalves - Tenor saxes
Wynton Kelly - Piano
Wendell Marshall - Bass
J. C. Heard - Drums
CDII, tracks 5-7
Stuff Smith - Violin
Wynton Kelly - Piano
Paul West - Bass
J. C. Heard - Drums
I put this album to one side, because I had recently reviewed a Dizzy
Gillespie CD, and thought it might be too soon to review another one.
However, now that I've belatedly listened to it, I feel impelled to
review it, if only to publicise its riches. It's a cornucopia of informal
sessions featuring Dizzy Gillespie but also including many other renowned
musicians. It is not clear if these recordings were produced by Norman
Granz but they have the carefree atmosphere of many of those Granz
sessions where jazzmen are let loose in the studio and allowed to
set their own agenda.
The "Ballad Medley" was often a feature of Granz's Jazz
at the Philharmonic and the three medleys on this double album typify
the joys of such a grouping. I'm particularly glad to find two versions
of I'm Through With Love, a beautiful song apparently composed
in 1931 but almost forgotten until Billy Wilder got Marilyn Monroe
to sing it in the film Some Like It Hot. The first version
on this album is by Roy Eldridge, the second by Stan Getz, and they
both do it justice.
In contrast to the ballad medleys are the tearaway jam sessions for
which Norman Granz was also famous (some would say "notorious").
The outstanding example here is Steeplechase, a 17-minutes-plus
performance (or endurance test) in which trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie,
Roy Eldridge and Harry Edison compete in stamina and invention at
a very fast tempo, driven along by Oscar Peterson's trio with Buddy
Rich added on drums. Some listeners may find it excessive, especially
when the trumpeters swap four bars each and continually raise the
stakes, but it is undoubtedly electrifying.
The compilation begins with four tracks from a 1957 LP originally
entitled Duets, in which Dizzy plays two tracks each with the
two Sonnies: Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt. It's a close-run thing
but Rollins just wins on points.
The three-trumpet album was recorded in 1955 and called Tour de
Force, which it certainly was. If Steeplechase goes too
far over the top for your tastes, you can still enjoy the easygoing
title-track and the delicate ballad medley. The "All Star Sessions"
label continues to be justified by the first four tracks on the second
CD, which come from a 1957 album called Sittin' In. This offers
the treat of three top tenorists, including Paul Gonsalves sounding
as breathy as Ben Webster in Without a Word of Warning and
Coleman Hawkins displaying his maturity on such tunes as September
Song. The Way You Look Tonight is taken at a breakneck
speed, with a nice touch near the end when the saxophones play Can't
Help Lovin' Dat Man behind Dizzy's solo.
The collection ends with three tracks from another 1957 LP: Dizzy
Gillespie and Stuff Smith, which originally contained five tracks.
Despite the rough recording quality, the vigour of Smith's violin
is well matched with Gillespie's equally lusty trumpet.
With a recommended price of £6.99 (and currently even cheaper
through Amazon), this is a bargain as good as most of Avid's other
heaven-sent releases of vintage jazz material. Buy now while stocks