Dizzy Gillespie Big 7

At the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975

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A good but not great set from the 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival, this set of four extended standards is nonetheless impressive for its complete rejection of all innovations in jazz after around 1955, even those that Dizzy Gillespie had himself spearheaded. This is a straight-up bop jam session. The tunes are standards almost to the point of being clich├ęs -- "Lover, Come Back to Me," "I'll Remember April," "What's New?," and the obligatory run-through of Charlie Parker's signature tune, "Cherokee" -- but Gillespie and his all-star group do an impressive job of finding new avenues of exploration. The 17-minute take on "Lover Come Back to Me" is particularly impressive, with meaty solos from both Gillespie and tenor Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. The ballad "What's New?" is primarily a showcase for Milt Jackson's vibes and Tommy Flanagan's piano, though Johnny Griffin also serves up a lovely tenor solo. Like the song selection, the playing is solid but not particularly far-reaching. There are many moments that elicit grins of pleasure, but none that cause jaws to gape with astonishment.

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