Dizzy's Party

Dizzy Gillespie

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Dizzy's Party Review

by Stewart Mason

A fairly standard date from Dizzy Gillespie's mid-'70s tenure at Pablo Records, Dizzy's Party is primarily a straightforward bop session, with the trumpeter backed by a simple sax/guitar/bass/drums quartet, plus Brazilian percussionist Paulinho Da Costa on the rattling "Harlem Samba," a breathless showcase for Gillespie's hyper-speedy blowing. On the Middle Eastern-influenced "Land of Milk and Honey" -- which would remain a staple of Gillespie's set list until his death nearly 20 years later -- the trumpet has the wailing tone of a muezzin; unfortunately, this 1976 recording has an inappropriately porn-sounding wah-wah guitar plus bongos backing track that detracts from Gillespie's marvelous performance. The two tracks on side one, "Dizzy's Party" and the wild "Shim Sham Shimmy on the St. Louis Blues," fall between those two extremes in terms of performances, but both are a bit overlong; the title track in particular features a tenor solo by Ray Pizzi that goes on far too long with not much melodic inspiration. Dizzy's Party is fine stuff that occasionally approaches excellence.

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