Dizzy Gillespie: I'm Beboppin Too & The Cool World
Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band
The legacy of Dizzy Gillespie's pioneering bebop big band could not be served better than by the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, the successor to the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band that featured Jon Faddis. Since his departure the band dropped "Alumni" from the name and Executive Director John Lee and Musical Director Slide Hampton now put the emphasis squarely on the band's strengths, without reminders of Dizzy's unique trumpet sound.
This third album mines the original '40s book for gems like Tadd Dameron's "Cool Breeze" and Gil Fuller's charts on the title track, "One Bass Hit" and "Tin Tin Deo" but spices things up with vocals from Roy Hargrove on that title tune and scat trades by James Moody and Roberta Gambarini on "Cool Breeze." AK Salim's "Dizzy's Blues" sparkles with a near fugal call-and-response theme and penetrating solos from Hargrove, trombonist Michael Dease, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and trumpeter Greg Gisbert sailing over the top of the coda. Hampton's chart on "Manteca" plays up the bass clef instruments in the theme then counters with a first flute solo (Antonio Hart). Jimmy Heath's flutes-dominated theme on "Una Mas" gives way to those bass clef instruments in burly solos by Doug Purviance (bass trombone) and Gary Smulyan (baritone sax).
Giving a special spark to the band are the contrasting styles of the three featured trumpet soloists: Hargrove, Gisbert and Claudio Roditi. Also enhancing the verve of the proceedings are the hip vocals of Gambarini, the best vocalist to sing with a Gillespie band since Sarah Vaughan. Her conflation of different lyrics for "'Round Midnight," in a memorable Hampton chart, is a treat, as is her scatting trades with horns on "Lover Come Back to Me" and perceptive reading of "If You Could See Me Now."
Director Shirley Clarke's film of Warren Miller's novel The Cool World, the first movie shot entirely in Harlem, telling a grim story of young people caught up in poverty and violence, was part of a golden age for jazz soundtracks, an era ('50s-60s) that also included Duke Ellington's score for Anatomy of a Murder and Miles Davis' Elevator to the Gallows. Mal Waldron's The Cool World score, alternately dark and moody and exhilaratingly brisk, is full of short, resonant tracks from a quintet also featuring pianist Kenny Barron (not Waldron), bassist Chris White and drummer Rudy Collins. Dizzy's trumpet, bending virtuosity to expressive emotional depths, dominates. The pieces themselves may be miniatures, but the performances, especially from Gillespie, are larger than life, making this one of the great jazz film scores.
Tracks and Personnel
I'm BeBoppin' Too
Tracks: I'm BeBoppin' Too; Cool Breeze; 'Round Midnight; Manteca; Birks' Works; If You Could See Me Now; Dizzy's Blues; Una Mas; I Can't Get Started; One Bass Hit; Tin Tin Deo; Lover Come Back to Me.
Personnel: Slide Hampton: music director; Frank Greene, Greg Gisbert, Claudio Roditi: trumpet; Roy Hargrove: trumpet, vocal (1); Antonio Hart, Mark Gross: alto sax, flute; James Moody: tenor sax, flute, vocal (2); Jimmy Heath: tenor sax; Jason Jackson, Steve Davis, Michael Dease: trombone; Douglas Purviance: bass trombone; Yotam Silberstein: guitar; Cyrus Chestnut: piano; John Lee: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Roberta Gambarini: vocals.
The Cool World
Tracks: Theme From "The Cool World"; The Pushers; Enter, Priest; Duke's Awakening; Duke On The Run; Street Music; Bonnie's Blues; Coneyisland; Duke's Fantasy; Coolie; Duke's Last Soliloquy.
Personnel: Dizzy Gillespie: trumpet; James Moody: sax; Kenny Barron:piano; Chris White: bass; Rudy CollinsL drums.