Dizzy Gillespie: St. Louis Blues


St. Louis Blues


Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)


Have Trumpet, Will Excite (Verve 314 549 744-2)

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Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Les Spann (guitar), Junior Mance (piano), Sam Jones (bass), Lex Humphries (drums).

Composed by W.C. Handy


Recorded: New York, February 17, 1959


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Dizzy Gillepsie, photo by Herb Snitzer

W.C. Handy wrote "St. Louis Blues" after witnessing the British bombardment of Baltimore's Fort McHenry at twilight during the War of 1812, thus explaining its opening line: "I hate to see that evenin' sun go down." Enacted by Congress in 1931 as the U.S. national anthem, the song is dutifully discharged before ball- games, but also lends itself to jazz, where listeners are not required to stand. A year after Hollywood's star-spangled Handy biopic, a Harmon-muted Dizzy Gillespie serves up a jim-dandy Handy salute of his own. With its with rousing open-horn finale, this may get listeners on their feet after all.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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