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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


Bluebirdís best
Bluebird 09026 63925 2




  1. Anthropology
  2. 52nd Street Theme
  3. Overtime
  4. Manteca
  5. Hot Mallets
  6. Two Bass Hit
  7. Cubana Be/Cubana/Bop
  8. Olí Man Rebop
  9. Good Bait
  10. Jump Did-le-Be
  11. Jumpiní with Symphony Sid
  12. Dizzier and Dizzier
  13. A Night in Tunisia


These recordings span the period 1939 to1949, the birth of be-bop and itís development into a distinctive jazz style.

Whilst I have heard Dizzy perform most of these tunes, I have not heard these particular versions before. A restrained Anthropology finds Diz in the company of Milt Jackson on vibes a combination that works very well. The second track has a superb tenor sax chorus from Don Byas that in it is worth the cost of the CD!

Overtime is a Metronome All Star band playing a Pete Rugalo arrangement, there is a phantom clarinet player on this track who I suspect is Buddy De Franco.

Manteca is a big band version on which Diz and tenor player Big Jack Nicholas are the main soloists. Hot Mallets is from 1939 when Diz was in the Lionel Hampton band, who else with that title!

Two Bass hit is with the big band again and Ray Brown on bass and Diz, both produce excellent solos. Cubana Be/Cubana Bop is a Latin Track from 1947 with Chano Pozo on congas. This track all sounds a bit artificial to me, just a showpiece for Latin Sounds that the band didnít sound very comfortable with. The next track has the same line up as track 2 and this time Don Byas and Diz sound relaxed and very comfortable. Diz steals the solo honours this time. There is no drummer listed for tracks 2 or 8, but he is there only a bit under-recorded. Good Bait, based on Too Marvellous for Words, is the big band again playing a Tadd Dameron arrangement.

Jump Did-le Ba has scat singing from Joe Carroll and Diz and some great trumpet playing. There is also a good Tenor solo from Joe Gayles. Lester Youngís blues composition Jumpiní with Symphony Sid has JJ Johnson on trombone sharing the solo honours with the leader. Dizzier and Dizzier, also known as Katy and recorded by Count Basie under that title, shows the ballad style of Diz off well. A Night in Tunisia brings back the Byas, Jackson, Gillespie combination; no Gillespie concert was ever complete without a rendition of this, one of his many compositions.

The Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker Quintet changed jazz improvisation forever and I have no doubt that this music from Dizzy Gillespie, who changed the way everyone plays the trumpet, will live forever as well. Bluebird has put much thought into this album.
Don Mather


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