The first three tracks on this ninth installment in the Classics Dizzy Gillespie chronology were recorded for the Vogue label in Paris on February 22, 1953. Note the presence of pianist Wade Legge. A stunning exercise in reflective meditation entitled "This Is the Way" is followed by a nutty study on "'S Wonderful" that begins like Dixieland corn and suddenly shifts into a 65-mph bop mode. The session finishes off with a patented Joe Carroll doubletalk scat-bop vocal. Gillespie and his quintet spent the rest of February 22, 1953, recording for Blue Star, the competitor to Vogue. After two very solid numbers, the band cut six more tracks backed by what Diz called his "Operatic String Orchestra." For those who aren't allergic to this kind of theatrical instrumentation, this is an opportunity to compare Gillespie's stringed adventure with Bird's famous Charlie Parker with Strings sessions. The effect here is something like a saucy '50s film soundtrack, often exciting and never tedious. Two sides cut in New York for the Showcase label in June of 1953 feature alto and baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab, and still more of that fine piano from Wade Legge. This outstanding compilation closes with six titles recorded in Los Angeles on December 9, 1953, for Norman Granz's Norgran label. The music, like the lineup, with tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Max Roach, is breathtaking.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf