Nettwerk Records & Justin Time Records To Release ‘Dizzy Gillespie & Friends: Concert Of The Century – A Tribute To Charlie Parker” (Out November 11)
October 13, 2016 BY Nettwerk
In 1980 on a cold November night in Montreal, two iconic landmarks of jazz history were channeled by a group of musicians under the leadership of Dizzy Gillespie for a concert entitled Concert of the Century – a Tribute to Charlie Parker. Along with Parker, Dizzy was a key participant in both of those events: the Jazz at Massey Hall concert and the Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) celebrations. For this concert, the trumpeter helmed a sextet featuring his musical cohort of many years, tenorman and flautist James Moody, the father of the modern jazz vibraphone Milt Jackson, and the impeccable rhythm section of Hank Jones, Ray Brown and Philly Joe Jones on piano, bass and drums respectively.
Assembled by the longtime Montreal concert producer Rouè Doudou Boicel, the group performed for 3000 fans at the Salle Wilfred Pelletier Hall of Place des Arts in Montreal, Quebec. Recorded in its entirety by Boicel, a very limited edition LP release appeared very briefly after the concert, but the tapes have lain dormant ever since – until now. Through the Justin Time Essentials Collection, this stunning performance is now available in three different formats – as a CD, HD digital (Mastered for iTunes), and a180 gram deluxe gatefold 2 LP set.
Altogether, these six musicians have brought their talents to more than a thousand of jazz’ finest recordings – spanning more than half a century of jazz expression at its highest levels – and with more than 300 years of combined recognition at the upper levels of the jazz pantheon. From the first sounds echoed on this night, it was apparent that each of them was at the very top of their game, unified not only by their deep love and respect for Charlie “Bird” Parker, but in the pure joy and transcendent spirit of each others’ company. The delight that each of the musicians shared in the experience is not only contained fully in the music, but also in the banter and repartee between the songs that further captivated the receptive audience.
Historically, the spirit of the JATP shows is always in the air, and although the cutting contests and battles that were so much a part of that format are not part of this event, the loving commitment to the music by the all-star lineup and the audience’s palpable excitement is very similar. The music ranges from ballads – a muted trumpet sojourn on Vincent Youmans’ “Time On My Hands” and a gorgeous duet by Diz and Jones on Hoagy Carmichael’s timeless classic “Stardust” – to blowfests on Dizzy’s own “Blue ‘n’ Boogie” and a blazing version of Harold Arlen’s “Get Happy” that give everyone a chance to stretch out.
Moody’s skills are highlighted both on flute (on his own original “Darben the Redd Foxx”) and on tenor (for Johnny Mandel’s lovely “The Shadow of Your Smile”) that also demonstrates an adventurous modernism that kept these stalwarts in the forefront of the music throughout their careers.
A bonus contained here are two items that were not available on the initial limited release: a Milt Jackson excursion on Ralph Rainger’s “If I Should Lose You” that moves from filigreed balladry to swinging mid-tempo; and a brilliant eight-minute bass solo by Ray Brown that incorporates Luiz Bonfá’s “Manhã de Carnaval” and Nat Adderley’s “Work Song” into his performance.
Concert of the Century – a Tribute to Charlie Parker has been fully re-mastered for the finest audio quality and marks another achievement in Justin Time’s commitment to jazz in both its present and its history.
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