This single CD reissues all of the music from two rare Dizzy Gillespie LPs. Dating from 1963-64, the set features the trumpeter's interpretation of the score of the obscure film The Cool World (although these are not the actual performances heard in the movie) plus 11 themes from other films. Gillespie, who is joined by James Moody (on tenor, alto and flute), pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Chris White and drummer Rudy Collins, was in peak form during that era and hopefully all of his other Philips recordings will also be reissued by Verve in the future. Although the liner notes deal only with The Cool World, the other set is actually of greater interest. Gillespie uplifts such tunes as the "Theme from Exodus," "Moon River," "Days of Wine and Roses," "Never on Sunday" and "Walk on the Wild Side," turning them into swinging jazz. The Cool World pieces (all composed by Mal Waldron) are also worth hearing although they are not as memorable overall. This set is a real historical curiosity and, although not essential, it is a release that should please Dizzy Gillespie fans while reminding others of how great a trumpeter he was before his long decline.
For a time in 1988, Moe Koffman (tripling on flute, alto and soprano) teamed up regularly with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. On this CD, Koffman and his regular group (guitarist Ed Bickert, keyboardist Bernie Senensky, bassist Kieran Overs, and drummer Barry Elmes) perform three of Dizzy's tunes, originals by Koffman and Senensky, and "Lush Life" with Gillespie. Diz's trumpet playing was clearly past its prime by 1988, but his scat singing on "Oop-Pop-A-Da" is quite virtuosic and outstanding, easily the high point of this little-known set.
It's 1940s and Dizzy Gillespie's big band are at their absolute peak! Listening to this record makes me wonder why there ever became such a thing as jazz snobbery. This music doesn't sound like the domain for snobs. In fact it showcases jazz in a crucial and innovative place. Here we are in this place where swing and be-bop have long ago cross polinated eachother (one needed to have the other anyway:we all know in what way",you've got Dizzy whose at once both a great intellectual musician as well as being able to make it move. And here you have him playing with these…well nowadays you'd have to call them all stars such as Dexter Gordon, Milt Jackson, Charlie Parker, Cozy Cole, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Clarke…the list goes on like that and BIM BAM BOOM you've got big band be-bop!
When Detroiter David Usher and Dizzy Gillespie founded the Dee Gee record label, they might have had an inkling that their project could, and would, fail financially due to poor distribution, the conversion from 78s to LPs, and the heavy hammer of the taxman. They might have felt, but could not have imagined, that they would create some of the most essential and pivotal jazz recordings for all time, not to mention some of the last great sides of the pioneering bebop era. Gillespie's large ensembles brought to public attention the fledgling young alto and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, such Detroiters as guitarist Kenny Burrell or pianist/vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and vocalists Joe Carroll, Freddy Strong and Melvin Moore. Considering the years – 1951 and 1952 – this was revolutionary breakthrough music from a technical and entertainment aspect, delightful music that has stood the test of time and displays the trumpeter in his prime as a bandleader.
This edition presents, for the first time ever on CD, Dizzy Gillespie's complete performance at the 1961 Monterey Jazz Festival. While humorously introduced by Diz as “A Musical Safari”, the set is a mixture of the repertoire the quintet was playing during that period, including an excursion into the realm of bossa nova. The quintet features the wonderful Leo Wright and Argentinean pianist Lalo Schifrin, as well as singer Joe Carroll on one track.
Dizzy Gillespie brings together tenor saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins for four extended cuts, and in the process comes up with one of the most exciting "jam session" records in the jazz catalog. While the rhythm section of pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Tommy Bryant, and drummer Charlie Persip provides solid rhythmic support, Stitt and Rollins get down to business trading fours and reeling off solo fireworks. Apparently, Gillespie had stoked the competitive fires before the session with phone calls and some gossip, the fallout of which becomes palpable as the album progresses.