Dizzy Gillespie: Live In Paris 1960-1961

Refreshed by recently recruited pianist and writer Lalo Schifrin, the Gillespie band produced a dynamic performance in the French capital

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Dizzy Gillespie was one of the first to successfully combine Latin rhythms with jazz, from early in the 1940s. During one of his subsequent tours of South America he met Argentinian pianist Lalo Schifrin who was to compose the Gillespiana Suite for the trumpeter.

First seeing the light of day in November 1960 in New York, it was performed and recorded  at Salle Pleyel, Paris later that month.

The first two sections ease the listener in, before the explosive Panamerica, a hard-driving section with an attractive horn theme played with great power and momentum. Gillespie’s solo seems effortless; Wright’s alto pushes urgently; Schifrin, who had replaced Junior Mance in the piano chair, shows he was no slouch, with fast lines and blocked chords.

A drum roll introduces Africana, Wright’s flute toning things down with a hint of exotica, Gillespie retaining his clear sound throughout. This segues into the maelstrom and excitement of Toccata, which turns out as a feature for Chuck Lampkin, whose rolling tom-toms, rim shots and cymbals forcefully propel the piece as it rises and falls. (He was to play like this a couple of years later with Ahmad Jamal.) After spirited solos from the horns and piano it goes into a drum solo, losing none of its drive. Candido’s congas usher in Caravan, and as the band continues the blistering pace, it develops into a drum/conga duet.

The second disc was recorded the following year, again in Paris but this time at the Olympia, as part of Norman Granz’s Jazz At The Philharmonic tour, and it’s a well-balanced set.

Beginning with Desafinado, soon to become a major hit for Stan Getz as the bossa nova craze took shape, it’s laid back and controlled. It’s followed by Lorraine, the tone remaining subdued, although Gillespie’s tight, muted horn starts to pick up speed.

As the pace gradually increases, Long, Long Summer alternates between Latin tinge and elements of hard bop – the trumpet open, Leo Wright initiating a gear change with his punchy alto and Schifrin responding with a hint of Bobby Timmons. Wright continues in this vein on Pau De Arara, a scorching solo to match the leader’s brash and fiery playing.

The long final track Kush (a reference to the ancient African Kingdom of Nubia) has a line of attack that continually varies: quickfire runs, pauses, lulls and sudden exciting leaps, typifying this band’s general approach.

Discography
CD1: (1) Gillespiana Suite: Prelude; Blues; Panamericana; Africana; Toccata; Caravan; Cripple Crapple Crutch (53.03)
CD2: (2) Introduction by Norman Granz; Dizzy’s Intro; Desafinado; Lorraine; Long Long Summer; Pau De Arara; Cripple Crapple Crutch; Kush (50.00)

Gillespie (t) with:
(1) Leo Wright (as, f); Lalo Schifrin (p); Art Davis (b); Chuck Lampkin (d); Candido Camero (cga). Salle Pleyel, Paris, 25 November 1960.
(2) Wright (as, f); Schifrin (p); Bob Cunningham (b); Mel Lewis (d). Olympia Theatre, Paris. 18 November 1961.
Frémeaux & Associés FA5843