Essential stuff, including Gillespie’s small group work with Charlie Parker, Al Haig, Milt Jackson, Don Byas, Lucky Thompson and Bill DeArango, originally recorded on Guild, Dial and Victor. Also included are four tracks Dizzy did with a Johnny Richards band including strings and woodwinds. A bonus is four 1946 selections by Wilbert Baranco’s big band on which Dizzy appears, as John Birks, but does not solo. There are exciting solos by Howard McGhee, another great early bop trumpeter, and tenorman Lucky Thompson. Bassist Charlie Mingus appears with Baranco in one of his earliest appearances on record. The work of Gillespie, Parker and Jackson has been given a great deal of attention, and if Haig, Byas and Thompson are underappreciated, they’re recognized as greats by jazz scholars. Check out the advanced, technically astonishing work of DeArango, however. I think he was the greatest bop guitarist, but although he played with a bunch of top musicians during the four years he was in New York, he split the scene in 1948 and today has been virtually forgotten.
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