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Jazz in Paris: The Giant

Dizzy Gillespie

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Album Review

This 1973 Paris studio session first appeared on the European label America as The Giant, but there has been some confusion as various combinations of songs have appeared under the same album title with Dizzy Gillespie's name over the years. Although rather brief in length with just five tracks and clocking in at under 34 minutes, this lively date has some strengths. The trumpeter turns over the solo spotlight to the extraordinary bassist Niels Pedersen and pianist Kenny Drew, prior to featuring himself in brief spurts with drum breaks by Kenny Clarke. Pedersen's fine arco technique introduces the brief ballad "I Waited for You," in which Gillespie is clearly at the top of his game. His muted horn saunters over Clarke's crisp brushwork during "Girl of My Dreams," although the overlong Latin original "Fiesta Mojo" quickly grows tiresome, in spite of a guest appearance by tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. Drew contributed the lush ballad "Serenity," which closes the CD. It's obvious that Dizzy Gillespie's chops are just starting to slip at this point in his career, but fans of his work will want to pick up this enjoyable reissue, as Gillespie at 90 percent is far more listenable than many well-known trumpeters at 100 percent.

Biography

Born: October 21, 1917 in Cheraw, SC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time (some would say the best), Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis' emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy's style was successfully recreated. Somehow, Gillespie could make any "wrong" note fit, and harmonically he was ahead of everyone in the 1940s, including Charlie Parker. Unlike Bird, Dizzy was...
Full Bio

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