To celebrate the late trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's 80th birthday (he had made it to 75), trumpeter Jon Faddis heads a tribute to Gillespie. Faddis, Dizzy's greatest protégé, can sound just like Gillespie (no mean feat), but actually has a much wider range and can play stratospheric high notes perfectly in tune. Joined by either altoist Antonio Hart or the little-known but talented tenorman Andres Boiarsky, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist John Lee, drummer Ignacio Berroa and occasionally Duduka Da Fonesca and Gabriel Machado on percussion, Faddis performs 11 songs either composed or co-written by Gillespie, plus two other pieces that Dizzy recorded (including "Blues from Gillespiana"). The arrangements are often close to the ones that Gillespie used, but are full of life and never sound like stale re-creations. Jon Faddis is such an exciting and enthusiastic player that this 1997 performance stands apart from Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars' recordings. Never mind that the only Gillespie alumni on the recording are Faddis, Chestnut, Lee and Berroa. The spirit and joy of Dizzy Gillespie's music is certainly felt on such numbers as "Salt Peanuts," "A Night In Tunisia," "Con Alma" and even the humorous calypso "Poor Joe." A gem.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow