Like his musical forebear Louis Armstrong, John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie loved an audience. And that love was reciprocated on countless occasions at clubs, concert halls, and open-air festivals the world over. In mid-July 1981, Gillespie (1917-1993) fronted a sextet that reunited him with two of his foremost disciples, the vibist Milt Jackson and the multi-reed player James Moody. (Both Jackson and Moody broke into the big leagues in 1945 with Dizzy's trailblazing big band.)
The music created on this night in Montreux was more crowd-pleasing than groundbreaking–but never was it backward-glancing. In several instances Gillespie made minor alterations to his classics "Manteca" and "Con Alma" to render them more accessible to ears raised on rock and funk rhythms. However, he did not in any way change his crackling, open-hearted attack.
His Greatest Concert? Perhaps not, in almost five decades filled with them. A consistently satisfying prime example of Autumnal Gillespie? Mais certainement.
with Milt Jackson, James Moody, Ed Cherry, Michael Howell, George Hughes