An out-of-print album + two parts of a JATP performance
Aug 19, 2013
The first seven tracks are everything the other reviewers described: smokin' playing with one of the most respected arrangers and pianists in jazz: Mary Lou Williams and a cast of her peers.
This part of this album is actually the complete, out-of-print album from a live gig on January 31, 1971 at the Overseas Press Club in NYC. The album was recorded for Perception as Giants, PLP 19 the same year.
If you purchased this for Dizzy you won't be disappointed, but if you do not know who Mary Lou Williams is pay attention to her playing on those tracks because she is superb. In fact, compare the piano parts on the first seven tracks to those Oscar Peterson played on the last two. I am not implying one is better than the other, but you will clearly hear a virtuoso. There is a reason why she was Monk's mentor.
The entire ensemble for this performance consists of Dizzy and Bobby Hackett on trumpet, backed by a great rhythm section comprised of Mary Lou Williams on paino, George Duvivier on bass and Grady Tate on drums.
The final two tracks are from a Jazz At The Philharmonic (JATP) concert on February 10, 1955 in West Berlin. These tracks are also on an album titled USA All Stars In Berlin - February 1955. These two tracks, combined, come in at 25:38 - about a third of this 73:30 album. Mary Lou Williams is not on these tracks, but an all-star ensemble is: Dizzy Gillespie and his idol Roy Eldridge are on trumpet, Bill Harris on trombone, Flip Phillis on tenor sax, Buddy DeFranco on clarinet and a solid rhythm section comprised of Oscar Peterson on piano, Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and Louis Bellson on drums.
This album also goes in and out of print. Sometimes it's listed at insane prices and others it's reasonable. If you are reading this during one of the reasonable periods I strongly recommend that you grab it.