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Dizzy Gillespie and the United Nations Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall, London

Thirty-three years later Dizzy Gillespie led his United Nations Orchestra in a concert that proved he still had the ability to bring out the best in his musicians. The CD Dizzy Gillespie Live at the Royal Festival Hall, London (Eagle WK 55890; 74:42) features a stellar cast performing arrangements by Slide Hampton. Though Dizzy’s tone and technique had slipped a bit in his 72nd year, he could always summon the magic when he needed to. The all-star band, including Paquito D’Rivera, Mario Rivera, Danilo Perez, Claudio Roditi and the powerhouse percussion section of Ignacio Berroa and Giovanni Hidalgo, provides most of the fireworks. Special moments include Slide Hampton and Steve Turre trading eights on “Tin Tin Deo,” a triple time Arturo Sandoval solo on the breezy calypso “And Then She Stopped” and, of course, the climactic, all-out “A Night in Tunisia” with James Moody and the trumpets. It’s a wonder the walls of the Hall didn’t come tumbling down.

Originally Published