Dizzy Gillespie: Town Hall, New York City; Dizzy

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Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker
Town Hall, New York...
Uptown Jazz

On a new release on Uptown Records, we hear a long-lost recording made at the Manhattan music hall 60 years ago.

The digital transfer is mostly untouched, so as a result some of the crack and hiss of the acetate recording is still there, as are the initial soundcheck mishaps that still happen today. Apart from that, we have a historic encounter of two music giants performing tunes such as "Bebop and "A Night In Tunisia among five others.

In one of several great moments, drummer Max Roach steps aside while Sidney Catlett fills the drummer's seat for "Salt Peanuts and "Hot House (pay attention to the lengthy drum solo during the latter track). The backing band doesn't sound intimidated by Gillespie and Parker - pianist Al Haig holds his own in "Bebop and other tracks as does bassist Curley Russell (The credits also include Don Byas on tenor sax on one song).

It is too bad that history did not preserve the hows and whys of the recording. We'll probably never know who the recording engineer was who masterfully recorded the concert on two separate acetate machines, which kept every song intact or who ordered the recording to be made. Also, we know nothing about the origins of the recording itself, for the efforts in tracking down the information went nowhere.

Dizzy Gillespie

On The Music of John Birks Gillespie, the Verve label selects tracks from Dizzy's 1950-63 career, including two recordings with Charlie Parker, "Bloomdido and "Leap Frog .

This release serves as an introduction to the music of the great trumpeter and is intended as a companion to a new biography by Donald L. Maggin (see In Print, pg. 34). The album also ends up being a way for new audiences to get to know his work.

One of the best moments of the CD is "Exactly Like You , which features Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson (a track from Diz and Getz), in which Gillespie and a pre-bossa nova Getz trade jabs, also providing space for the pianist's improvisations.

Another treat is "Cool Breeze , a Gillespie/ Dameron/Billy Eckstine composition that features Diz at work with a big band that has among its participants legendary producer Quincy Jones on trumpet. The classic "Blue Moon is also present, providing listeners with an opportunity to hear the man performing with yet another great name: Roy Eldridge.

Eldridge was, by the way, also recorded on that same 1945 evening at Town Hall, but unfortunately (as the first album's liner notes state) his estate's administrators did not allow the recording to be made public - something that saddens fans. Here's hoping that this changes soon.

Town Hall

Tracks: Intro; 2. Bebop; 3. A Night In Tunisia; 4. Groovin'High; 5. Salt Peanuts; 6. Hot House; 7. Fifty Second Street Theme

Personnel: Dizzy Gillespie: trumpet; Charlie Parker: alto; Don Byas: tenor (#1); Al Haig: piano; Curley Russel: bass; Max Roach, Sidney Catlett: drums: Symphony Sid Torin: MC


Tracks: 1. Bloomdido; 2. Africana; 3. I know That You Know; 4.Exactly Like You; 5. Cool Breeze; 6. Caravan; 7. Medley I Can't Get Started/'Round Midnight; 8. Blue Moon; 9. Bebop; 10. I Remember Clifford; 11. Leap Frog

Personnel: Dizzy Gillespie: trumpet; Charlie Parke: alto; Stan Getz: tenor; Thelonious Monk: piano; Sonny Rollins: tenor; Oscar Peterson: piano

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