A Night in Tunisia

Dizzy Gillespie

Song Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

After Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie was one of the trailblazers of bebop. His blinding technique set the pace for bop, but he wasn't just an instrumentalist and bandleader -- he was a skilled composer, writing one of the definitive jazz pieces, "A Night in Tunisia." Throughout the years, as bop morphed into hard bop and post-bop, "A Night in Tunisia" remained a standard because it was that unique blend of a song that plays to a wide audience while still being satisfying for seasoned musicians. It's a fast, technically challenging piece, yet it remains catchy and melodic. And if it's possible for a bop song to be danceable, than "A Night in Tunisia" is danceable -- well, at least it has a strong beat. All kinds of musicians and groups have tackled the song throughout the years, but it remains Gillespie's showcase and this 1946 recording shows why. He makes speedy flurries of notes sound graceful and the path of his solo never is predictable, even after you become familiar with the recording. A perfect recording of a flawless tune.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Dizzy Gillespie [Dee Gee] 1951 Dee Gee
School Days 1951 Savoy Jazz 0:00
Dizzy Gillespie and His Latin Rhythm: Afro 1954 Verve
Afro 1955 Verve 4:15
World Statesman 1956 Verve
The Essential Dizzy Gillespie 1964 Verve 5:20
Diz 1978
RCA 2:00
Manteca [Pickwick] 1979 Pickwick 2:58
Jazz in America 1983 Embassy
Compact Jazz: Dizzy Gillespie 1987 Verve 4:15
Symphony Sessions 1989 Pro-Arte Records 11:29
Dizziest 1990 Bluebird
The Bebop Revolution 1991 Bluebird
The Dizzy's Diamonds: Best of the Verve Years 1992 Verve 4:14
Playboy's 40th Anniversary: Four Decades of Jazz 1953-1993 1993
Various Artists
Verve 4:14
Verve Jazz Masters, Vol. 10: Dizzy Gillespie 1994 Verve 4:16
Dizzy Gillespie (1946-1949) 1994 RCA
Lady Be Good 1994 Four Star
Birks Works:  The Verve Big-Band Sessions 1995 Universal / Verve 5:34
Great Jazz Bands [PGD Special Markets] 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / PSM 4:18
Get Lucky 1996
Various Artists
Intersound 11:31
Best of AFRS Jubilee 163 & 162, Vol. 11 1996
Various Artists
RST Records 4:02
Dizzier and Dizzier 1996 Victor Records / RCA 3:07
Idiot's Guide to Jazz 1997
Various Artists
RCA 0:57
RCA Victor 80th Anniversary Sampler 1997
Various Artists
RCA Victor / RCA 3:06
1940-1946 1997 EPM 3:02
Groovin' High [Indigo] 1997 Indigo 3:03
Gold Collection 1998 Retro Music 5:10
Planet Jazz 1998 RCA Victor 3:09
Small Groups 1945-1950: Night in Tunisia 1998 Giants Of Jazz Recordings 3:07
Modern Jazz: Beginnings 1999
Various Artists
Louisiana Red Hot Records 3:04
Original Sounds of New York City 1999
Various Artists
Golden Sounds 3:07
The Spirit of Jazz [Wagram #1] 1999
Various Artists
Spirit Of (UK) 3:08
When the Saints Go Marching In 2000
Various Artists
Legacy 2:40
Introduction to Dizzy Gillespie: His Best Recordings 1937-1947 2000 Best of Jazz 3:07
Ken Burns Jazz 2000 Verve 3:12
BeBop Spoken Here: Disorder at the Border 2000
Various Artists
Proper Sales & Dist. 3:07
Jazz Collection: Dizzy Gillespie 2001 Laserlight 10:11
Manteca 2001 Jazz Hour 3:08
Bebop Spoken Here [Proper] 2001
Various Artists
Proper Sales & Dist. 3:07
Jivin'in Be-Bop [DVD] 2001 Storyville Films
Groovin' High: The Dizzy Gillespie Story 1939-1950 2001 Proper Sales & Dist. 3:08
Ool-Ya-Koo the Dizzy Gillespie Story 1939-1950 2001 Proper Sales & Dist. 5:08
Things to Come: The Dizzy Gillespie Story 1939-1950 2001 Proper Sales & Dist. 3:05
The Dizzy Gillespie Story: 1939-1950 [Box Set] 2002 Proper Box 5:08
Cool Jazz [Universal Special Products] 2002
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 4:15
Professor Bebop 2002 Recall (UK) 3:05
Take Flight!: A Bluebird Collection 2002
Various Artists
Bluebird RCA / RCA 3:06
The Best of Odyssey 1945-1952 2002 Savoy Jazz 0:00
NEA Jazz Masters 2004
Various Artists
Verve 5:34
Best of Jazz [BMG 2004] 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 3:08
BD Jazz 2004 Nocturne Records 3:08
Early Years: 1937-1951 2004 Jazz Legends 3:03
All That Jazz [Legacy Box] 2005
Various Artists
Legacy 2:40
The Jazz Biography 2005 AAO Music / United Multimedia / United Audio Entertainment 3:06
The Best of Dizzy Gillespie: Small Groups 2005 Jazz Forever 3:03
NEA Jazz Masters 2005 Verve 4:17
A Night in Tunisia: The Very Best of Dizzy Gillespie 2006 RCA / Legacy 3:09
The Very Best of Jazz 2008 Universal Distribution 10:48
Dizzy 100 2017 Verve Reissues 4:18
Classic Verve Collection 2018 Enlightenment Series 6:43
Work from Home with Dizzy Gillespie 2020 Universal 5:34
Anthropology History 3:03
Best Jazz Songs
Various Artists
Universal 4:19
Big Band Jazz: Verve 50
Various Artists
Decca 5:33
Casino Night [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 5:33
Discover Jazz Collection
Various Artists
Universal 5:34
Dizzy Gillespie, Vol. 1 Jazz Classics
Greatest Jazz Standards
Various Artists
Universal 4:19
Various Artists
Universal 5:33
Jazz for Traveling
Various Artists
Savoy Jazz 0:00