Some of Dizzy Gillespie's best and most well-known material from the '60s with a truly talented band is included on this set of recordings done in France. A group of American expatriates and Europeans -- really musicians from all over the world -- accompany the trumpeter for music that spans bop, Brazilian sounds, and originals. Argentine pianist Lalo Schifrin plays piano and contributes the arrangements, and Leo Wright is Gillespie's main foil on flute and alto sax, while Hungarian Elek Bacsik plays guitar in subtle ways that reflect the overall style of the sounds inspired by the French Riviera. A classic, stretched-out take of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "No More Blues" kicks off the set, with the sound of kids on an ocean beach leading to Gillespie and Wright trading halves of the melody line as playful as the children in a perfectly played bossa. Another Jobim standard, "Desafinado," has Wright's bright flute and the muted trumpet of Diz in a more pensive but still hopeful romantic mood. "I Waited for You" is the ultimate languid, laying-in-wait ballad, with Schifrin's refrains cuing the trumpeter's procrastinations, while "Long, Long Summer" is the pianist's ode to a sullen affair with ultraviolet light -- cool shades included -- in a swinging and modal approach. "For the Gypsies," penned by the leader, has Bacsik more up-front rhythmically, as Wright's mysterious flute contrasts with Gillespie's sharply precise notes in a sneaky quick bossa rhythm. Also written by Dizzy, "Here It Is" is as memorable a tune as he ever did, a signature strutting shuffle jazz/blues that exemplifies the joy in life always present in his music. That all of the participants are extremely talented and can mix and match with Gillespie beautifully makes this an album that should appeal universally to all jazz lovers, and especially his biggest fans.
Dizzy on the French Riviera
Dizzy on the French Riviera Review
by Michael G. Nastos