Dizzy Gillespie Quintet Legends Live on 180g LP + Download
Recorded Live at Liederhalle Stuttgart on November 27, 1961 & Kongresshalle Frankfurt on November, 29, 1961
Original Concert Recordings Remastered
“The Mooche” of 1928 was created by Duke Ellington for the trumpeter Bubber Miley. In a 15-minute version, performed in Stuttgart in 1961, Dizzy Gillespie explores the concept at length. Lalo Schifrin’s extended piano solo uses block chords to further heighten the dramatic intensity of this soul version.
Schifrin had had doubts in 1960 whether Dizzy even wanted him in his band; he could never get hold of him by telephone and very nearly returned home to Buenos Aires. “I’ve had many mentors in my life, but only one master – Dizzy.” He went on to compose large-scale suites for the trumpeter virtually in a single surge of creativity, including "Gillespiana" and "The New Continent."
That summer Dizzy Gillespie toured Argentina and Brazil. As Schifrin put it. “Dizzy was always hungry for new musical food: calypso today, bossa nova yesterday, tomorrow – who could know?” The trumpeter engaged the versatile saxophonist and flautist Leo Wright from 1959 to 1961, following a sensational concert at the Monterey Festival.
Wright went on to live in Europe for many years. But Dizzy narrowly missed the bossa nova trend, because Artie Shaw had advised him to make as many recordings as he could and only to release the volumes in his old age, once his musical powers were on the wane. Not until 1974 did his nephew Boo Frazier release his Monterey performance on the LP A Musical Safari. The ballad "Willow Weep for Me," once dedicated to Gershwin, serves to remind us of Leo Wright's enormous talent on flute.
Dizzy's hipster contribution "Oops-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be" sounds like on-the-spot improvisation, a humorous pastiche on scat, from which Dizzy launches his solo like a fountain suddenly gushing skywards. At this point jazz was just about at its lowest ebb, compounded by the appearance in February 1964 of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. But Dizzy was still able to find lucrative club gigs and concerts.
He begins "I Can't Get Started" at an astonishingly slow tempo, throwing in quotes and sauntering through the upper registers as if it were all child's play. The full-length Frankfurt version of "Kush" demonstrates how the quintet is always able to inject new life into familiar themes. The manner in which a muted Dizzy, without piano accompaniment, dances with bass (Bob Cunningham) and drums (Mel Lewis) in "Kush" remains an audio adventure even fifty years on. A master of suspense, Lalo Schifrin saw it exactly as it was. Leo Wright's alto saxophone answers from the depths of his soul, urging the band along in a strudel of emotions.
That same year the impresario Norman Granz had shocked Dizzy and the rest of the jazz community by selling his label Verve Records for $2.5 million to MGM. Dizzy Gillespie did not get along with the new studio bosses; so these historic recordings bear witness to an important phase in the career of this exceptional trumpeter.
- Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
- Leo Wright (alto saxophone, flute)
- Lalo Schifrin (piano)
- Bob Cunningham (bass)
- Mel Lewis (drums)
Dizzy Gillespie Quintet Legends Live Track Listing:
1. The Mooche
2. Willow Weep For Me
4. I Can’t Get Started