All of the music on this CD was recorded by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in Paris during a one-month period in 1952. The first half of the set teams Gillespie with tenor saxophonist Don Byas, who had moved to Europe from the U.S. six years earlier. The sextet alternates swing standards with some boppish originals and Afro-Cuban jazz pieces. The performances are pretty concise, and one wishes that Gillespie and Byas had had opportunities to really stretch out and inspire each other. The final dozen selections mostly feature the trumpeter backed by a string orchestra with arrangements from Jo Boyer or Daniel White. The repertoire is comprised of swing tunes, but Dizzy's melodic statements are still pretty adventurous. Three of the numbers drop the strings and have Gillespie playing with the rhythm section. Although one would not call any of this music essential, it does have its moments of interest and Dizzy Gillespie fans will want to pick it up as a gap filler between more significant sessions.
by Scott Yanow