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Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac

Dizzy Gillespie

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Album Review

A strangely popular album for Dizzy Gillespie, Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac represents a period in his career where he was adapting to the times, keeping his goof factor on board, and individually playing as well as he ever had. This club date, recorded over two days circa May of 1967 from The Memory Lane in Los Angeles, has Gillespie with soon to be longtime partners James Moody and Mike Longo, joking and jiving with their audience, presenting a relatively short program of modified pop tunes and one of the trumpeter's most revered compositions. Drummer Otis "Candy" Finch is more than up to the task, but electric bass guitarist Frank Schifano is the weak link, playing basic lines, or unfortunately out of tune. Longo moves from acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes, while Moody's tenor or alto sax and flute are as distinctive as ever. Gillespie's voice, inspired by Eddie Jefferson or perhaps Billy Eckstine, was never meant for singing, but is delightful in his attempt. "Kush" is the track that, over nearly 16 minutes, starts with Dizzy's preachings about Mother Africa and Moody's wavering flute, but Schifano's insistently off-key ostinato mars what is otherwise Gillespie's bright and fluid trumpet sparring with Moody's alto in louder, then softened dynamics and Longo's dainty piano chords. The band modifies Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada," made popular by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, into a boppish swinging and swaying tune with Latin inferences. The title track, Gillespie's singularly unique and famous adaptation of the gospel song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" has he and Moody chatting back and forth in campy ghetto and Afro-Cuban vocal antics gleaned from Chano Pozo, degenerating into nothing, then a modest vocal line. While somewhat disingenuous, Gillespie's vocal attempt at being a romantic troubadour during "Something in Your Smile" cannot be taken seriously, but is somehow quaint and endearing. This is not an essential listing in the vast discography of such a great jazz artist, but remains a curiosity in his collection, especially considering the two-day time frame where much more music could have been considered to be issued. It is not to be completely ignored, but less worthy than many of his other seminal groundbreaking recordings. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

I tunes review is amateurish!

I am familiar with the critic from All Music Guide who wrote this silly review and to all jazz fans who love music that swings and has depth in that area, as well as musicians who have an awareness of poly metric time, get this superb CD! I would also ask yourself the question,"If you were Dizzy, would you accept criticism from someone who can't keep time nor pat their foot to the music and express the body rhythms contained in it"? This may give you an insight into why someone would write such an amateurish review about a great piece of work that has been released several times and transcended almost four generations of listeners. There must be a reason for this that this critic cannot hear. Check it out for yourself!

What!

Im not sure where this critic is from, but I am sure he needs to be fired. This is a GREAT album and needs to be listened to by all. Well worth the money

Sweet

That dude who wrote that review knows less about music that my 3.5 year old son who has been playing his sax,singing,dancing to this tune for the last 2 years.It has not faded on him or me trust me I hear it 5 or more times every day.. if you have kids you understand.

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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