This excellent three-disc set contains 64 great songs performed by Dizzy Gillespie and company in varied settings. Odyssey: 1945-1952 chronicles the master trumpeter in small groups, big bands, a session with strings, and also some blues. Among the rare treats on the collection are a full-fledged Gillespie big band score "Interlude (A Night in Tunisia)," performed here with the Boyd Raeburn Orchestra, where Gillespie worked for a couple of weeks at a time in both 1944 and 1945. The inimitable "Groovin' High" is played by the Dizzy Gillespie Sextet of which Charlie Parker, Cozy Cole, and Slam Stewart were members. The song is heard here as a classic bebop contrafact based on the chord progression of "Whispering," which became a million-seller for Paul Whiteman. Disc one also features "Slim's Jam," a song that is ripe with Gillespie conversation, including one with sax great Charlie Parker about his reed. This song makes you feel as if you are right there in the recording session. The Dizzy Gillespie All Star Quintet play a humorous "Salt Peanuts" and features the young Sarah Vaughan singing "Lover Man." Disc two includes music by such great bands as the Ray Brown All Stars, the BeBop Boys, who featured Dizzy Gillespie tearing down the house with such jazz notables as James Moody, Milt Jackson, and Hank Jones, playing such great songs as "Moody Speaks" and "Boppin' the Blues." Disc three has some of the best excitement from Gillespie's musical diary and provides a fascinating insight into his life and times with such jazz giants as Percy Heath, J.J. Johnson, Art Blakey, and Stuff Smith on "Oh Lady Be Good," "Love Me Pretty Baby," and "Caravan." Savoy has reissued one of the best documentations of Gillespie's artistry in recent times. For those who are just learning about the great Dizzy Gillespie or for those who have an extensive collection of his music, this box set supplies a comprehensive review of his timeless musical itineraries during 1945-1952. All selections have been transferred to digital tape from the original monaural master tapes and acetates stored in Denon's Savoy vaults. A must-have.
Odyssey: 1945-1952 Review
by Paula Edelstein