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



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JUNIOR MANCE QUINTET

Here 'Tis

SACKVILLE RECORDINGS
SKCD2-3050

 

 


It is a coincidence that 1992, the year this disc of Dizzy Gillespie penned tunes was recorded, also happened to be a celebratory year for the great trumpeter since he had reached the venerable age of 75 a not inconsiderable achievement for someone in a branch of music that is unfortunately too full of names of great musicians who died young mostly through self inflicted causes. So it was that the disc’s producer John Norris and Junior Mance jazz pianist and one-time member of Dizzy’s quintet in 1958 were together at a club where by chance they saw fellow pianist Steve Kuhn play Gillespie’s I Waited For You which sowed the seed of an idea of recording a disc devoted to Dizzy’s brilliantly inventive tunes. Junior however decided to expand from the original concept of using a trio that would have showcased his talents very nicely to a quintet thus enabling a better platform to shine the spotlight on the music and so be merely the vehicle by which to do it. In the event because of Junior’s amazing pianistic talents and his careful choice of colleagues joining in the venture he managed to ensure that the medium as well as the message are extremely well served.

It is more than purely a matter of record that Dizzy Gillespie wrote some of Jazz’s most memorable and lasting tunes that constitute a goodly chunk of the Great American Songbook. The decision to add flute and guitar to the classic jazz trio proved to be inspired for together they add a new dimension to the tunes helping the listener to hear them in an entirely new and refreshingly different way. It is also nice to be able to hear some real talent from the Canadian jazz scene for it is still far too often thought by some that the only sounds worth hearing come from the US of A and it is so patently not true, which I as a British chairman of a local jazz club in ‘deepest Yorkshire’ know only too well. The players here are fantastic representatives of all that is the best in jazz and are brilliant practitioners of their art.

It must have been a difficult choice to decide on which tunes to leave out for Dizzy’s compositional legacy is considerable but those selected for this disc are so quintessentially Dizzy and work so well with the chosen line-up that the disc is a dream. If I was pushed into having to highlight my favourites here it would be hard not to choose Con Alma, Tin Tin Deo, Blue ‘n’ Boogie and, of course, Junior’s solo Night in Tunisia but they are all winners and any lover of Dizzy, Junior or simply of jazz is going to find themselves in clover with such a great disc of wonderfully memorable tunes that are a fitting tribute to a unique musical personality who sadly died of pancreatic cancer only a few months after this disc was made.

Highly recommended.

Steve Arloff



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