Jazz News Volume4 No45 0004
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JAZZ NEWS — Saturday December 24, 1960
This is the fi/st of a series of articles
on Modern Giants of Jazz by Max
SOME PEOPLE wjll tell you, even
now, thajt modern jazz is a kind of
rootless, overnight upstart, but that
isn't true at all. Almost everything
the modernists have done grew from
w hat (happened earlier in jazz, and the
work of our recent visitor. Dizzy Gil-
lespie, is a good example. He came up
with the big pre-war swing bands and
gained valuable experience in them,
but. like Charlie Parker, Thelonious
Monk and the other key members of
his generation, Ibe had new ideas.
Even so, Gillespie did not develop
so quickly as some of the others. At
twenty Parkei had recorded some quite
personal solos, but at that age and for
a time after.. Dizzy’s playing remained
strongly influenced by his model, Roy
Eldridge. In time, however, the new
ideas he and the others had did develop
and grow into bop, the first modern jazz
Although he had recorded with a few
THE TWO DIZZIES; Gillespie and Reece listen to bassist Art Davis as he
demonstrates a phrase.
by Max Harrison
swing groups, the first real modern jazz
discs — cut fifteen years ago — con-
tained Gillespie’s first mature playing.
He had by that time gained a fantastic
command of the trumpet which enabled
him to execute passages of unprecedented
speed and complexity and to move with
great freedom in top register In addition,
his tone was full and rounded, his attack
stinging in its force and intensity It is
too bad that so few of these recordings
are available locally, but items like ‘Hot
house’, ’Dizzy atmosphere’. ‘Groovin high’
‘Shaw ’nutf’ and ‘Salt peanuts’ embody
many of the first modernist innovations
and give a vivid picture of Dizzy's cre-
These were all recorded by small
groups, but Gillespie's extrovert nature, his
organising ability and natural showman-
ip were such that he soon wanted to
lead Ids own big band- The lirst, in 1945.
«as a failure, but the following >ear he
was luckier and his second band stayed
together until 1950-
He continued to experiment, but now
it was within an orchestral framework,
not just in his own playing- He succeed-
ed in adapting many of the modernists
ideas to the big band, and the best of
the recordings — some of which were
issued here by HM V , Parlophone and
Vogue — have an almost explosive power
which aptly reflects the leaderes own
qualities as a soloist.
Among a number of especially force-
ful interpretations were ‘Our delight’-
‘Ktnanon’, "Stay on it’, ‘Good bait’ and
T hings to come’ — the last an astonish-
ing display of ensemble virtuosity. Also
memorable were pieces like ‘Manteca",
•Cubana be* and Cubana bop" which fea-
JAZZ NEWS — Saturday December 24. I960
Continued from Page 6
tured Cliano Pozo, whose wonderful
conga drumming increased the excitement
with additional rhythmic complexity.
Dizzy's own solos were naturally
rather different to those recorded with
small groups. There was some tonal
contrast between lower and middle regis-
ters and this, with his more frequent use
of rests, gave his work a variety it lacked
before. Yet he still obviously gained
inspiration from the band's powerful
Particularly thrilling is the way in
‘Round about midnight’ recorded in Paris
he rises to play his own independent line
high above the full ensemble.
During the ’fifties Gillespie was never
able to keep a group together for long.
He organised a fine orchestra for Ameri-
can Government sponsored tours, but had
to disband. For the rest he fronted
small combos, toured with J-A-T P. and
recorded for Norman Granz. In short,
the spotlight has been firmly placed on
Dizzy as a virtuoso soloist rather than
as innovator and leader This has in-
evitably resulted in changes to his work
Tonal contrasts have become more notice-
able and the passage of time has brought
playing which, if still full of the un-
expected, is less intense.
The strikingly imaginative ballads be
recorded in Paris in 1952-3 illustrate this,
and contain a wealth of lyrical melodic
invention. These were issued here by
Vogue and Esquire, and among the best
arc ‘I cover (he waterfront’ and ‘Cock-
tails for two.’
Working in recent years for Norman
Granz he has inevitably recorded with
quite incongruous personnels, but has
sometimes produced outstanding music in
the most unlikely surroundings. The
tremendous bite of his ‘Purple sounds’
solo with Stuff Smith is a good example,
and others include ‘Impromptu’ with Stan
Getz, ‘Just you just me’ from a jam
session, ‘Blues for Bird' with the Modern
Jazz Sextet and he played with especial
power and conviction on the ‘Afro’ titles
with big band. These can all be heard
Lately there has been a tendency to
dismiss Gillespie as one who clowns too
much and no longer really tries to make
good music It is true that during the
past ten years his inspiration has not
run so consistently high as in the ’forties,
but his abilities are still such as to place
him with the finest contemporary jazz-
men. As to his own attitude, he said
several years ago: “I’m not interested any
more in going down in history. I want
Hence the clowning and the funny hats.
But records like those mentioned ensure
that he WILL go down in jazz history
as a bold innovator and one of the
greatest trumpeters we shall ever hear-
ACT I, SCENE I
SCENE: ‘The Highlander’.
TIME: Early Evening.
PLAYERS: Two tired News-
Why advertise . . . waste of
Think so ?
Definitely. Best advertising /j
word of mouth. Try it.
No, I’d rather not . . .
Oh, alright then. "Would all
readers of JAZZ NEWS please
tell tlieir friends that the reason
they are so liip is that they take
a copy of the paper every
Friday" That alright!
Fine, and look at the money
True. What's yours?
CARRY London In Your Pocket!
A complete and comprehensive guide to:—
ic EATING OUT
all this and much more can be found in
THIS WEEK IN LONDON
1st issue on the bookstalls NOW!
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