This double CD collects all of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band sides from 1946-1949 for the Bluebird and Musicraft labels, including seven previously unissued cuts. These bands were renowned for their hard-swinging styles that accented the toughness of bebop wailing R&B and Latin/Cuban grooves. Some of Diz's sidemen included Milt Jackson, Cecil Payne, Ray Brown, Willie Bobo, Yusef Lateef, Johnny Hartman, Leo Parker, John Lewis, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Dorham, James Moody, Ernie Henry, Al McKibbon, and dozens of others. Here are formidable versions of "Two Bass Hit," "Cubana Bop," "Jump Did-Le-Ba," "Oop-Pop-A-Da," and many others. In addition to the studio sides there is an entire Paris concert included from a radio transcription, making these sides indispensable. The only downside is the lack of liner notes – though full session notation is included.
Regrouping his Latin backing band Los Cubanos Postizos, Marc Ribot offers a sequel to his 1998 Arsenio Rodriguez tribute The Prosthetic Cubans in Muy Divertido! ("very entertaining"). While there are once again a few songs penned by Rodriguez, there's also a greater variety of composers represented, including three Ribot originals. Ribot's angular, visceral guitar style adds rock drive and avant-garde edge to these deep Latin grooves, and Anthony Coleman's spacy organ work adds a playfully strange texture to some tracks.
To start the year well, I publish this gem, engendered in the dark Belgium psychedelia.