It's impossible to grasp the complete scope of trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and showman Dizzy Gillespie's influence on jazz. However, this companion release to Ken Burns' PBS documentary Jazz is an admirable attempt, providing a brief glimpse of Dizzy's pioneering bebop and Afro-Cuban jazz brilliance on a single 16-track disc. The disc captures his early sideman career with Cab Calloway's orchestra in 1940 and four years later with Coleman Hawkins' orchestra. The remaining tracks showcase Dizzy coming into his own on classic bebop compositions "Salt Peanuts," "A Night in Tunisia," "Dizzy Atmosphere," "Groovin' High," "Manteca," and "Bloomdido." Also included is "The Eternal Triangle," a 1957 blowing date with Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt on Verve. The disc concludes in 1967 with Dizzy hamming it up on "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac," the humorous take on "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." While Dizzy Gillespie's history can't be summed up on a single disc, the highlights on Ken Burns Jazz should make the novice listener interested enough to continue searching out more material. But this series includes nothing that the aficionado doesn't already have.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Al Campbell