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Dizzy Gillespie: Dizzy Digs Paris

Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus (photo: Sue Mingus)

The British Giant Steps label (www.cherryred.co.uk/giantsteps) has been reissuing some very interesting 1950s jazz. The two-CD set Dizzy Digs Paris (GSCR 016) features all of the music from Dizzy Gillespie’s Feb. 3, 1953 Paris concert, a performance that was formerly only out in piecemeal fashion. These unedited versions feature Gillespie balancing his show between hard-driving bebop, early R&B and hyper scat vocals, often by Joe Carroll, with memorable versions of “The Champ,” “Good Bait,” “Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be” and “School Days.” Also included are two studio-sessions by Gillespie during the period (including one with strings) and the music from a formerly very obscure trio set by Wade Legge.

The Cool One (GSCR 017) is a single disc that reissues all of the music from tenor-baritone-clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre’s The Four Brothers and Tangents in Jazz LPs from 1954-55. Giuffre is heard in an all-star septet and a quintet with pianist Russ Freeman, although the majority of the selections include a piano-less quartet also featuring trumpeter Jack Sheldon. It must have seemed adventurous at the time, having the rhythm section sometimes play the melody, the group leaving plenty of space and hinting strongly at folk melodies and classical music, but today it comes across as a bit tame-yet still charming.

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