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Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band: Things to Come

In spite of Dizzy Gillespie’s difficulties in keeping a big band together for long, it was among his great loves. Indeed, some of Gillespie’s most memorable recordings feature his own breathtaking charts as well as those of Gil Fuller and other pioneering arrangers of big bands and bebop. The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band seeks to keep that seminal music vital and before the public. Things to Come (Telarc), recorded live in late 2000, breathes new life into such Gillespie staples as “Things to Come,” “Ray’s Idea,” “Manteca,” “A Night in Tunisia,” “Emanon” and six other classics by composers such as Benny Golson, Thelonious Monk and Quincy Jones. Under the direction of Gillespie’s protege Jon Faddis, who is also featured on trumpet, Gillespie veterans like tenorists James Moody and Jimmy Heath, altoist Frank Wess, trombonist Slide Hampton, trumpeter Claudio Roditi and bassist John Lee form the nucleus of a band that is indeed stellar. It seemed unbelievable in 1946 that human beings could play the breakneck written passages on “Things to Come,” and it’s still amazing today. But this band does so with great gusto and verve. And even in a context where excellent solos are the norm, Moody’s chorus on the blues “Emanon” is an astonishing masterpiece of melodic construction.

Originally Published