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Dizzy Gillespie: The Winter in Lisbon

The 1990 album The Winter in Lisbon (Milan) was Dizzy Gillespie’s last and the soundtrack for a film of the same name-but we’ll never know how well the music matched the visual because the movie was never released. What remains is not a collection of cues. All 11 tracks have been artfully arranged by Slide Hampton, who utilizes a small string section, French horns, a trumpet, reeds and an adaptable jazz rhythm section of pianist Danilo Perez, bassist George Mraz and drummer Grady Tate. To my relief, Gillespie, who could occasionally sound listless during this period, often plays like the Diz of young. The trumpeter’s strongest efforts are heard on his originals, such as a good muted solo on “San Sebastian,” but he’s at his lethargic worst on “Burma.” There are five versions of “Magic Summer,” including the opening and final themes, credited to Charles Fishman, who is known by all information available as a producer, but all that matters is that “Magic Summer” is a beautiful melody. It’s a perfect vehicle for singer Leola Jiles, who provides a haunting obbligato to Gillespie’s muted solo. She deserves more exposure.

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