Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker: Bebop




Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet) and Charlie Parker (alto sax)


Dizzy Gillespie – Charlie Parker: Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945 (Uptown CD 27.51)

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Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Don Byas (tenor sax), Al Haig (piano), Curly Russell (bass).

Recorded: Live at Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

When record collector Robert Sunenblick purchased seven acetate disks from a dealer in 2004, he found – to the delight of jazz fans – that he had uncovered a previously unknown recording of Parker and Gillespie’s 1945 Town Hall concert. And, unlike most of the live bebop recordings from the period, this was a professional job, with good sound quality and no gaps in the performances. “Bebop” was the opening song of the night, and Parker characteristically shows up late, but he makes up for it with five blistering choruses. Gillespie, Haig and Byas are also at top form, while Roach stokes the fire at a breakneck pace – a 330 beats per minute tempo. Performances of this sort, which aimed to break the land speed record for jazz, scared off many swing musicians from trying their hands at the new bebop idiom. While other artifacts from the 1940s seem like quaint reminders of a bygone era, this music has not lost its edge.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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