Dizzy Gillespie

Birks Works: The Verve Big-Band Sessions

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Dizzy Gillespie's globetrotting big band of 1956-1957 was one of his finest groups, a very exciting orchestra that at various times had such players as trumpeters Gillespie, Joe Gordon, and Lee Morgan, trombonists Melba Liston and Al Grey, altoists Phil Woods and Ernie Henry, the tenors of Billy Mitchell, Ernie Wilkins, and Benny Golson, and pianists Walter Davis, Jr. and Wynton Kelly. With arrangements contributed by Quincy Jones (who was in the trumpet section), Wilkins, Liston, and Golson, this was a classic orchestra. Its three studio albums plus a few numbers previously issued only on samplers and nine previously unreleased performances (mostly alternate takes) are on this wonderful two-CD set. The high points are many, including "Dizzy's Business," "Jessica's Day," "The Champ," "Cool Breeze," "Birks Works," "Whisper Not," "Stablemates," and "I Remember Clifford." Essential music.

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