Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy in South America: Official U.S. State Department Tour, 1956, Vol. 2

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Jazz collectors can be an obsessive, detail-minded bunch, so when they acquire Vol. 2 of CAP's Dizzy in South America series, they're bound to be frustrated by the fact that the credits don't give any exact recording dates or let you know exactly where in South America each 1956 performance was recorded. As frustrating as that is, however, Vol. 2 is a CD that collectors and Dizzy Gillespie fans will be glad to get their hands on. No serious Gillespie aficionado could resist hearing previously unreleased live performances of "Tin Tin Deo," "The Champ," and "Groovin' High," especially when the sound quality is decent (by 1956 standards) and the band boasts such heavyweights as Phil Woods (alto sax), Benny Golson (tenor sax), Jimmy Powell (alto sax), Walter Davis, Jr. (piano), and the tour's musical director Quincy Jones (trumpet). Gillespie has many inspired moments on trumpet, and featured vocalist Austin Cromer provides some memorable crooning on "Because of You" and "Wonder Why." Those who complain that bop has no sense of humor should pay close attention to Gillespie's vocals on the goofy yet swinging "Hey Pete, Let's Eat More Meat" and the hilarious Louis Armstrong parody "I'm Confessin'." When Gillespie emulates Armstrong's style of singing, he isn't ridiculing the seminal trumpeter/vocalist, but rather, flattering him out of reverence and adulation -- in fact, critic Ira Gitler states in the liner notes that Armstrong was reported to have been quite amused by Gillespie's parody. Also noteworthy are Melba Liston's lyrical trombone solo on "My Reverie" and baritone saxman Marty Flax's funky spot on Horace Silver's "Doodlin'." Vol. 2 is easily recommended to Gillespie fans, although it would be nice to know the specific venues and the exact recording dates.

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