This single CD reissues all of the music from two rare Dizzy Gillespie LPs. Dating from 1963-64, the set features the trumpeter's interpretation of the score of the obscure film The Cool World (although these are not the actual performances heard in the movie) plus 11 themes from other films. Gillespie, who is joined by James Moody (on tenor, alto and flute), pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Chris White and drummer Rudy Collins, was in peak form during that era and hopefully all of his other Philips recordings will also be reissued by Verve in the future. Although the liner notes deal only with The Cool World, the other set is actually of greater interest. Gillespie uplifts such tunes as the "Theme from Exodus," "Moon River," "Days of Wine and Roses," "Never on Sunday" and "Walk on the Wild Side," turning them into swinging jazz. The Cool World pieces (all composed by Mal Waldron) are also worth hearing although they are not as memorable overall. This set is a real historical curiosity and, although not essential, it is a release that should please Dizzy Gillespie fans while reminding others of how great a trumpeter he was before his long decline.
Jazz collectors can be an obsessive, detail-minded bunch, so when they acquire Vol. 2 of CAP's Dizzy in South America series, they're bound to be frustrated by the fact that the credits don't give any exact recording dates or let you know exactly where in South America each 1956 performance was recorded. As frustrating as that is, however, Vol. 2 is a CD that collectors and Dizzy Gillespie fans will be glad to get their hands on. No serious Gillespie aficionado could resist hearing previously unreleased live performances of "Tin Tin Deo," "The Champ," and "Groovin' High," especially when the sound quality is decent (by 1956 standards) and the band boasts such heavyweights as Phil Woods (alto sax), Benny Golson (tenor sax), Jimmy Powell (alto sax), Walter Davis, Jr. (piano), and the tour's musical director Quincy Jones (trumpet). Gillespie has many inspired moments on trumpet, and featured vocalist Austin Cromer provides some memorable crooning on "Because of You" and "Wonder Why".
In the summer of 1956, the famed Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell arranged for Dizzy Gillespie to embark on a worldwide goodwill-ambassador tour sponsored by the State Department. Gillespie and an all-star big band featuring trumpeter Quincy Jones, the late trombonist Melba Liston, alto saxophonist Phil Woods, and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson performed in Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil to frenzied, beret-wearing fans. Recordings were made but they weren't commercially available and were played only for a select group of musicians before Gillespie's death in 1993. Now the sides have been released, showcasing Dizzy at his bebopping best.
Before Woodstock and Monterey Pop, there was Festival. From 1963 through 1966, Murray Lerner visited the annual Newport Folk Festival to document a thriving, idealistic musical movement as it reached its peak as a popular phenomenon. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, the Staple Singers, Pete Seeger, Son House, and Peter, Paul and Mary were just a few of the legends who shared the stage at Newport, treating audiences to a range of folk music that encompassed the genre’s roots in blues, country, and gospel as well as its newer flirtations with rock and roll…