1. Be Bop
3. Birks Works
4. Dizzy's Made Up Blues
5. Jazz America
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet and vocals), Paquito D'Rivera (alto), Tom MacIntosh (trombone), Ed Sherry (guitar), Valerie Capers, (piano), Michael Howell (electric bass), Ray Brown (bass), Tom Campbell (drums)
Produced and directed by Gary Keys
rec. live in Redondo Beach, CA 1986
Region 0; NTSC [60:00]
Gary Keys, who produced and directed this 1986 live Gillespie concert has a `signature style' which involves, from the look of it, in-your-face close-ups, unusual camera shots, and an occasionally distracting habit of concentrating on the keyboard when he should be concentrating on the real soloist. Nevertheless he manages to capture to a large degree the irreverent bonhomie of a live gig given by the trumpeter and his cohorts.
This is a concert interspersed with a few very brief interview clips with Gillespie, which aren't long enough to be musically or biographically significant but do give a glimpse of him off duty, raffishly dressed, and full of accustomed joie de vivre.
The concert stage is quite packed, the audience expectant, Gillespie droll and loquacious and self-mocking in his introductions. He starts off with two well-worn but still funny pieces of business - firstly the `who took the joint out of my pocket?' question, and then his `let's introduce the musicians in the group', whereupon they all shake hands, pretending to have met each other for the first time. There are really only four songs; Jazz America is the funky-grooved `outro' over which credits roll and lasts about two minutes. So the band has time to stretch out on the four numbers.
There are lengthy solos all round. Altoist Paquito D'Rivera gets some vinegar into his horn when necessary, and his caustic moments are highly diverting. Fellow frontliner, trombonist Tom MacIntosh is a more straight ahead character, but has less to do, adopting a subsidiary role. Valerie Capers is the busy pianist, block chording or bopping away. She's been over-recorded unfortunately so her comping often sounds like soloing, which may have been what confused Keys. The rhythm section shines too. Significantly he has two bass players; the electric bassist Michael Howell and the ever smiling genius of the bull-fiddle, Ray Brown. He is the only musician to wear slacks, and a jacket; he looks as if he's come from another era, but is having a wonderful time from the look of it, grinning throughout, and playing splendidly as ever, not least in the Gospel-tinged Kush. On Dizzy's Made Up Blues the leader sings inimitably and demonstrates his still-amazing trumpet chops - tight, fluent, endlessly inventive.
On-stage banter is frequent, the ethos relaxed but musically engaged, and the concert whizzes by.
Technically there are a few moments of distracting red glare and some break-up, but they don't last very long. There's no booklet.