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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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DIZZY GILLESPIE

Four Classic Albums

Avid AMSC 1028

 

 

For Musicians Only
1. Be Bop
2. Wee
3. Dark Eyes
4. Lover Come back to Me

Dizzy Gillespie – Trumpet
Stan Getz – Tenor sax
Sonny Stitt – Alto sax
John Lewis – Piano
Herb Ellis – Guitar
Ray Brown - Bass
Stan Levey – Drums

The first track kicks off at a fantastic tempo. How Stan Levey and Ray Brown held it down over such a sustained period defies imagination. Unfortunately the tempo does not go hand-in-glove with giving the soloists a chance to be really creative; even this star-studded line-up is hanging on for grim death!

Wee is again taken at a blistering tempo and matters are not helped by the fact that the piano and guitar are badly under-recorded. Once again the three star front-line men demonstrate their ability to hang on at these tempos, but the improvisations are not inspired.

Dark Eyes starts with Diz stating the theme accompanied by Herb Ellis's guitar. The tempo is less frenetic and Stan Getz now starts to sound like his normally creative self. The piano is still under-recorded.

Lover Come Back to Me starts slowly with Diz playing the theme; Stan Getz picks up on the middle eight at a much faster tempo. Diz goes back to the slow tempo and then Sonny Stitt is away at the higher tempo. Diz plays the next solo keeping the tempo high this time. Ray Brown and Stan Levey again work really hard to maintain the high tempo, but the piano is still in the next studio! Stan Getz demonstrates that these tempos are no problem for him before Diz goes back to the original tempo. There is a strange Dixieland-style ending!


Roy and Diz No2
1. Sometimes I’m Happy
2. Ballad Medley – I’m Through with Love/Can’t We Be Friends?/Don’t You Know/I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do/If I Had You.
3. Limehouse Blues
4. Blue Moon

Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge – Trumpets
Oscar Peterson – Piano
Herb Ellis – Guitar
Ray Brown – Bass
Louie Bellson - Drums

Thankfully the balance is much better this time and everyone can be heard. The record demonstrates well how Roy Eldridge was the intermediary between Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie; he was certainly a musician of great technique and style. I am of the opinion that in the ballad medley it is Roy who plays the first tune and Dizzy the second (I would welcome any other listener's opinion).

I enjoyed this much more than the previous session. The tempos apart from Limehouse are more relaxed and are therefore more conducive to good improvisation. Oscar plays a delightful intro to Blue Moon and the rhythm section plays in a relaxed way to bring out the best from these two giants of trumpet jazz


Sonny Side Up
1. On the Sunny Side of the Street
2. The Eternal Triangle
3. After Hours
4. I Know That You Know

Dizzy Gillespie – Trumpet
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt – Tenor Saxes
Ray Bryant – Piano
Tom Bryant - Bass
Charlie Persip – Drums

Of the three albums so far, this one is the best. The recording quality is good and in Stitt and Rollins we have two tenor players who are different enough in the way they play, to make comparison interesting. Which style is the best? It really depends on how you like you like your jazz: Stitt is closer to the original Parker concept, but Rollins is a little more adventurous:. However you should have no doubt that both are complete masters of the jazz saxophone. Dizzy plays brilliantly as well and the rhythm section is as good as you will ever here for this type of jazz.

In The Eternal Triangle, all three horns are completely relaxed at what is quite an up tempo and Ray Bryant also plays a nice solo. Dizzy plays fours with drummer Charlie Persip, before the horns take it out.

After Hours is a blues with a longish intro from Ray Bryant on piano. Dizzy solos first tightly muted. Sonny Rollins follows, and then Sonny Stitt. For my money, Stitt shades it on this occasion!

I Know That You Know kicks off with some fluent stop choruses from Rollins before Dizzy, this time without the mute, takes over. This is Diz at his best, romping through the changes. Stitt stays with the up-tempo and gives an equally fluent contribution.

This session has stood the test of time well!


Dizzy in Greece!
1. Hey Pete
2. Yesterdays
3. Tin Tin Deo
4. Groovin’ for Nat
5. Annie’s Dance
6. Cool Breeze
7. School Days
8. That’s All
9. Stable Mates
10. Groovin’ High

This was the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band that undertook a Middle East tour, the first of its kind to be sponsored by the State Department and what a big band it was! The sections were full of stars: either of the time or the future. Joe Gordon and Quincy Jones were in the trumpet section; Melba Liston and Frank Rehak were amongst the trombones; Phil Woods, Billy Mitchell and Ernie Wilkins were in the saxophone section; and super drummer Charlie Persip was on hand to swing the whole thing along.

The star soloist however is the leader himself: Dizzy was on absolutely on top form. His playing on each of his solos is superb. The band having undertaken most of the tour was very tight by the time these tracks were recorded and there is some amazing section work.

Two of the tracks, the last two, were recorded nine months after the original session and the album was originally released as a follow up to the Dizzy Gillespie World Statesman album.

This is an album that should be in the library of any serious jazz fan. I strongly recommend it.

Don Mather



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