Ted Williams could go one for four. Maria Callas wasn't always in perfect voice. Words sometimes failed Hemingway. Even legends have normal days. Salt Peanuts is a recently discovered recording of a Dizzy Gillespie concert date in Montréal in 1981 and although his playing was still strong, it frankly isn't one of his better moments.
Gillespie fires off a few of his trademark lightning riffs on "On Green Dolphin Street, with flutist Sayyd Abdul Al-Khabyyr kicking in a good solo. Ed Cherry's electric guitar solo might've sounded better if the microphone had been closer; it sounds like he's playing on another stage. The band kind of slogs through Gillespie's "Blues Theme, then goes right into the classic title cut, complete with obligatory audience participation and the first appearance of Gillespie's trademark sense of humor. Al-Khabyyr's tenor solo is fiery but, like Cherry's guitar on "Green Dolphin, is too far off mic for the listener to really appreciate it. Gillespie plays his best solo of the date thus far and Tommy Campbell's drumming is a force of nature.
His sense of humor continues during the mildly amusing riff on "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot retitled "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac, which includes the lyrics "I looked over Jordan and what did I see/an Eldorado comin' after me. But that's merely a preamble to "A Night in Tunisia, on which the leader plays some cleverly mischievous riffs on the trumpet, followed by more splendid on-point (and, finally, on-mic) playing by Al-Khabyyr. Cherry follows with a dynamite solo. The song that comes next, "Land of Milk and Honey, features a hook in Hebrew which Gillespie repeats with brio. He lays out on "The Girl From Ipanema, which is a showcase for Al-Khabyyr's wonderful flute playing. The set closes with the band cutting loose on "Tin Tin Deo, which features an impressive balancing act solo by Campbell.
Salt Peanuts captures Dizzy Gillespie somewhere in the middle of the road, but the disc is saved by a few top-notch performances and the leader's warmth and humor.
1. On Green Dolphin Street;
2. Blues Theme;
3. Salt Peanuts;
4. Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac;
5. Night In Tunisia;
6. Land of Milk and Honey;
7. The Girl From Ipanema;
8. Tin Tin Deo.
Sayyd Abdul Al-Khabyyr--Flute, Tenor Sax;
Ed Cherry--Electric Guitar;