Jon Irabagon's Outright: Groovin' High

In this remake of Dizzy Gillespie's 1945 classic, Jon Irabagon's group goes where few men travel. They play the bebop standard's intro at breakneck speed and with great facility while lending a sense of free form to the body of the piece. This is not for those looking to follow comfortably along with the familiar melody. Irabagon changes time signature throughout and at times verges on crescendos that go off in a direction barely tied to the original theme. Make no mistake, these are talented musicians looking at things in their own way. This may not be for everyone, and I myself find it challenging at times, which is why I chose the only song on the album that I could have some reference to. As with anything different, it tests the conventions of present-day acceptability. But Jon Irabagon's Outright musical forays are at times interestingly exploratory and should not be dismissed out of hand.

May 03, 2008 · 0 comments


Gerald Wilson: Groovin' High

Gerald Wilson's arrangement (the tune is based on the chord changes of the standard "Whispering") was the first-known big band setting of one of the anthems of the new music called bebop, and proved that his was one of the most modern bands at that time. Recorded for a small label named Excelsior Records, this didn't get much distribution, but was certainly heard by many listeners who embraced the most up-to-date trends in jazz. Solos are by Dotson, Davis and Bunn, the most boppish of the soloists. Wilson even includes a reference to "A Night in Tunisia" before the shout chorus.

April 03, 2008 · 0 comments


Dizzy Gillespie: Groovin' High (1945)

Dizzy Gillepsie, photo by Herb Snitzer

For his second recording of "Groovin' High" within three weeks and with similar instrumentation, Dizzy Gillespie stays cup-muted until the bravura finale, when he unleashes the open horn with which he soloed on his earlier session. Perhaps Diz's different approach stemmed from Charlie Parker's presence on this track. No need for Diz to emulate a 50-megawatt generator with the incandescent Bird on hand, and Bird's solo here is one of his brightest. Even so, "Groovin' High" remains Dizzy's showpiece, with a less ear- splitting but equally exhilarating solo. Aside from Slam Stewart's annoying hum-along arco bass shtick, this track is tremendous.

November 06, 2007 · 1 comment


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