March is going to be Dizzy Gillespie Month for our POTW issues. Diz appears on about 18 Pablo titles, I don’t have all of them (yet), but of the ones that I do have I’ve picked a handful to share with you.
For the first POTW for March I’m sharing with you one of my favorites, and one that should be in heavy rotation for any Jazz lover:
THE TRUMPET SUMMIT meets THE OSCAR PETERSON BIG 4
This wild and crazy gathering of some seriously heavy hitters, brought together for only one night to record this brilliant record over the course of six densely packed hours (9p to 3a), was arranged almost as a happenstance. As Norman Granz explains in the liner notes,
“Clark Terry had come to Los Angeles to do an album for me, and, by coincidence, Oscar Peterson was there too, on some personal business; Bobby Durham, Ella Fitgerald’s drummer, had just finished a television special with her the day before. Ray Brown, Joe Pass, and Freddie Hubbard all live in Los Angeles; thus I had virtually all the possibilities for a great session. But I needed just one more ingredient, one more giant against whom Hubbard could test himself: Dizzy Gillespie. I called Dizzy in New York two days before the session and he told me he was leaving that day for a gig in South Carolina. I asked him if he were free the day after and he said he was. I asked him if he’d like to fly in to Los Angeles ot record. “Not really,” he said, “Why would I fly out to record there, why not later in New York?” I then told him who was on the date and Dizzy immediately replied: “I’ll be there.”
The Horn Players:
- Dizzy Gillespie
- Clark Terry
- Freddie Hubbard
The Backing Band:
- Oscar Peterson
- Joe Pass
- Ray Brown
- Bobby Durham
This is like royalty coming to visit you in your home, as the recording is immediate, intimate, in your face. In the grand tradition of the old-time jam session, our esteemed hornsmen joust with each other as the backing band paints the perfect scene behind them. And this is not just a great record, but it’s an extremely entertaining and satisfying record. Diz on the right, Clark in the middle, Freddie (as the young challenger to the two old timers) on the left.
There are four cuts in total, two on each side, each quite long to give our heroes all the proper chances to pull out there stops and excite the listener with some preternatural improvised melody making, and this record delivers that and more abundantly. I won’t get into a track-by-track analysis of solos. I’ll only leave you with this:
Get this record, you will treasure it. This is some of the most exciting, enthusiastic, wonderful music making ever to be engraved on a Pablo … maybe ever to be engraved anywhere. This is truly stupendous stuff.
Oh – and Freddie Hubbard shoots a Clark Terry signature phrase back at the master as a tease … see if you can spot it!