My report is based on the performance by the quintet led by Dizzy Gillespie. The show took place in 1958 in Belgium. Besides Gillespie, who played the trumpet and recorded leading the vocals, the personnel included Sonny Stitt (tenor and alto sax, vocal), Lou Levy (piano), Ray Brown (bass) and Gus Johnson (drums). This concert is one of the outstanding historical events of jazz scene, featuring influential musicians who formed a successful band.
Blues After Dark presents a succession of distinctive trumpet and tenor sax solos, however, the phrasing of those solos is mellow and not as full of tension as other tracks of this recording. The rhythm section does not come out too vividly, however, there is a two-minute long piano solo closer to the end of the recording.
Lover Man has outstanding harmonic complexity and rhythmic pattern. The role of the drums is much more distinctive here that in any other track. The phrasings employed by Gillespie are especially intricate and elaborate.
On the Sunny Side of the Street is the part where Gillespie demonstrates the peculiarities of his performing style most of all. The tone of the composition is major. The first large solo after the theme introduction is Stitt’s, then he and Gillespie take turns of approximately three minutes to perform their solos. The sound of Stitt’s saxophone here may be best of all described as “sauntering”. Closer to the second third of the performance Gillespie starts singing, almost at once accompanied by Stitt. In fact, this is the only track among these four ones that features vocals at all.
Blues Walk is the concluding part of the performance. It has a really strong and steady rhythm section support and a thorough bass line. Phrases are often started on off-beats both by Gillespie and Stitt.
To me, it seems that the order of tracks performed is extremely important because the sequence of songs played was one of the things that made special impression on me. The tension rises gradually, reaching its peak at Lover Man and decreasing by Blues Walk. The general feeling is that the performance has the vibe of a jam session. It seems natural-flowing and all the musicians look as if they are at ease. The record leaves you feeling refreshed and serene.
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