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Dizzy Gillespie, the remarkable trumpeter who helped pioneer bebop in the 1940s with his magnetic presence, was 64 when these recordings were captured at The Rising Sun Celebrity Jazz Club in Montreal. While not his best work, these intimate July 1981 sessions manage to capture the lovable artist at work, passing the mainstream jazz torch on to like-minded compatriots. He continued to do so for another eleven years, setting the example and working actively with the jazz mainstream until his death.
Most of the selections captured here reflect Gillespie's desire to share the wealth of his veteran knowledge. He's always been exciting when he interprets "Salt Peanuts" and "Swing Low Sweet Cadillac," because of the vocal asides that blossom and grow. Guitarist Ed Cherry, wearing two hats because the band has no pianist, makes an equitable partner for the veteran trumpeter. He solos with crisp clarity and harmonizes with depth. This live date provided the time and opportunity for Cherry to stretch out considerably. His searing lines steal the show.
Sayyd Abdul Al-Khabyyr, already a veteran of swing and bebop at the time of these sessions, complements Gillespie's powerful musical persona with fluid flute melodies and swinging tenor saxophone outtakes. While an unidentified alto saxophonist with a biting bebop stance remains too far away from the microphone through several tracks, it's Abdul Al-Khabyyr who provides the band with spontaneous solos that add immeasurable strength to the session. His flute thrills on "Land of Milk and Honey" and his saxophone wails on "Swing Low Sweet Cadillac." Not surprisingly, he gracefully interprets "The Girl from Ipanema" with a special tenderness.
Always a personable crowd-pleaser, Gillespie connects with his audience. As he explains his "Land of Milk and Honey" and as he interprets it vocally and with open trumpet, the veteran entertainer makes you feel right at home.
Track Listing: On Green Dolphin Street; Blues Theme; Salt Peanuts; Swing Low Sweet Cadillac; Night in Tunisia; Land of Milk and Honey; The Girl from Ipanema; Tin Tin Deo.
Personnel: Dizzy Gillespie- trumpet; Sayyd Abdul Al-Khabyyr- flute, tenor saxophone; Ed Cherry- guitar; Michael Howell- bass; Tommy Campbell- drums.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.