Dizzy Gillespie

A Night in Chicago [Video/DVD]

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Surprisingly, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, in decline from the mid-'70s on, is in pretty good form on this undated club video, which is probably from 1989. Dizzy is joined by baritonist Sayyad Abdul Al-Kahbyyr, pianist Walter Davis, Jr. (who passed away in 1990), electric bassist John Lee, and drummer Nassyr Abdul Al-Kahbyyr. The music is spirited and often humorous, particularly the opening "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac," which finds Gillespie trying out some of his dance steps over the funky rhythm. Diz is muted on most of his ballad feature "Embraceable You." Al-Kahbyyr takes a torrid yet rhythmic solo on "Nature Boy" (climaxed by an impressive cadenza), while Gillespie and Davis share "'Round Midnight." The catchy Dizzy original "Fiesta Mojo" (a funky calypso) has some screeching high notes from the baritonist. The whole band is featured on an extensive rendition of "A Night in Tunisia." A short excerpt of "Dizzy's Scat" (during which Gillespie shows off some of his virtuosic scatting) runs over the closing credits. Overall, this video has good camerawork and holds one's interest.