559

Dizzy Gillespie via Harvey Limburger: Good Spirits: Harvey Limburger Plays New Music from Dizzy Gillespie

Eric J. Iannelli By

Sign in to view read count
Dizzy Gillespie via Harvey Limburger: Good Spirits: Harvey Limburger Plays New Music from Dizzy Gillespie The posthumous album is nothing new to jazz—indeed, half of Coltrane's colossal discography was released after his death—but this album is, to my recollection, the first to be recorded from beyond the grave. It features eight new tracks, all ostensibly written by Dizzy Gillespie and, in a weirdly metaphysical sense, performed by him too, using previously unknown New York-based trumpeter Harvey Limburger as a medium. The unique choice of preposition in the album title makes clear the difficulty of presenting this project.

"I was in my room taking a break from practicing. I started fooling around with my Ouija board and the letters began to form strange words," writes Limburger in the liner notes. "'T-H-I-S-I-S-D-I-Z... U-P-L-A-Y-4-M-E,' the implement spelled out. It was like an urgent text message from the Other Side." On previous occasions, says Limburger, the spirit had introduced himself as John, or J.B., and he hadn't paid much attention, choosing instead to ask repeatedly whether or not ghosts had a word for nudity.

Diz's instructions were simple and clear: rally an accommodating quartet, plug in the four-track, and set the new music to tape. Trumpet in hand, Limburger began channeling the otherworldly vibes and recording during nightly sessions, always beginning at midnight and ending at first light. "Diz was—is—a perfectionist," he writes. "He wouldn't settle for anything less, even if it meant a hundred takes. Of course, I really didn't feel anything at the time, but afterwards I was always exhausted."

Good Spirits sees Gillespie returning to the bop style he helped pioneer. The opener and title track establishes the brisk, jaunty pace for the rest of the album. "The Quick and the Quicker" is a blazing fast, quadruple time slalom, zig-zagging bebop at its finest. "Grave Matter" puts a bop spin on the southern-fried groove of Mingus' "Better Get Hit in Your Soul." "Harping for a Horn" deceptively intros with the soft, angelic chords of a ballad and then suddenly bursts into a hellish free-for-all with all three sidemen doing their best to follow the bandleader.

At times Diz can even be playfully self-referential. "Gabriel's Groove" toys with the theme of "Manteca," and "Long-Distance Call" resurrects the head of "A Night in Tunisia" as a jumping-off point for his solo. On this record Gillespie is supported by the moderately capable George Wantanabe on bass, the slightly less capable Fred Blanski on piano, and the even less capable Howie Limburger, Harvey's brother, on drums. One wishes that all the performers were as inspired as the leader. Then again, finding musicians receptive to this venture might have been a difficult task given the nature of the recording.

So should we credit Limburger with such a first-rate performance or, strange though it might seem, Diz himself? Once again, perhaps it's best to refer to the liner notes. "This is not my record," Limburger writes in closing. "This is Dizzy all the way. This is his playing you're hearing, this is his album. I was only privileged enough to be chosen as the vessel." This has not, however, prevented a protracted legal battle between Limburger and the Gillespie estate over the rights to the album and profits.

Good news for lawyers—but also good news for jazz fans. The success of the album means that there may be future releases along these same unconventional lines. According to Limburger, Diz and his musical soulmate Charlie Parker are looking for suitable hosts for a planned collaborative project.



Track Listing: 1. Good Spirits; 2. Gabriel's Groove; 3. The Quick and the Quicker; 4. Long-Distance Call; 5. Fifth Dimension; 6. Grave Matter; 7. Cloud Nine; 8. Harping for a Horn

Personnel: Harvey Limburger/Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Howie Limburger (drums); George Wantanabe (bass); Fred Blanski (piano)

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: hatNut | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream

April fools!


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Back To Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Back To Your Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Acoustically Speaking" CD/LP/Track Review Acoustically Speaking
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Bactrian" CD/LP/Track Review Bactrian
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Apprentice" CD/LP/Track Review Apprentice
by Alex Franquelli
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Song of the Free Will" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Free Will
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!