Donald Harrison, Jr. (far left) and the New Orleans Music Interns (photo: Joel A. Siegel)
3. Dizzy Gillespie’s All-Stars: “Bebop” (For Musicians Only; Verve, 1956)
Getz had to go head-to-head with the original beboppers to completely unleash the fire that burned within. It’s Sonny Stitt who first blazes through the changes of modern jazz’s eponymous anthem, then Diz, putting all of his impossible chops and a fountain of ideas into his solo. Could the mellow Getz rise to the occasion? Seven breathtaking choruses, plus another triple-decker to close the tune, say that he could indeed. The lyricism, the subtle muscle (here a bit less subtle), the romance, the intelligence—they’re all here in spades. “Bebop” simply finds Getz in a circumstance where he truly does have something to prove. And for all the virtuosity of his frontline partners, there’s never a suggestion in their playing that he needs to step aside and learn how it’s done.
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